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Jill Compton, Virginia Fenili, Robin Mc Williams , Patricia 
Shue, Steve Siedler, John Stobart, Michelle Ureche 

In order to get a selection published in this issue, 

four of the above had to vote for acceptance. 
For the award winners, only John Stobart is responsible. 

Ordinarily, WORDEATER awards $25 for prose, $25 for 
poetry, and $10 each for front and back cover art. 
Often, these prizes are awarded to single contribu- 
tors. Since John Stobart felt that several people 
submitted worthy entries to WORDEATER 59, the prose 
award, this time, is shared by four individuals, 
and the poetry award is shared by two, as follows: 

^ ettf 


$10 to: 
$5 each to: 


Steve Siedler 
Barbara Pillasch 
Sharon Peck 
Tony Kocielko 

$5 each to 

Ronna Oldham 
Madonna Clarke 

C*L $20 to Judv Belfield 


Manuscripts or cover designs for 
WORDEATER ^0 must be submitted to 
John Stobart in room C-1069 by: 

April 16, 1987 

Manuscripts will not be returned 

April 16, 1967 

All copyrights are retained by 
the authors and materials may not 
be reprinted without their 

Steve Siedler 
W. A. Kahle 
Joel Stepanek 
Ronna Oldham 
Barbara Pillasch 
Judy Self i eld 
Ronna Oldham 
Barbara Pillasch 
Barbara Pillasch 
Madonna Clarke 
Steve Black 
Judy Belfield 
Ellen Bryce 
Sharon Peck 
Barbara Pillasch 
Joel Stepanek 
W. A. Kahle 
Ruth Bo sard 
Steve Siedler 
Doug Paul 
Tony Kocielko 
Penny Sartori 
Joel Stepanek 
Jose Garza 
Ronna Oldham 
Judy Belfield 
Judy Belfield 
Nancy Carlin 
Madonna Clarke 
Steve Siedler 
Ronna Oldham 
Steve Fisk 
Steve Siedler 
Judy Belfield 
Steve Siedler 
Madonna Clarke 
Sharon Peck 
Dutes Miller 
Jean Tyrell 
Ronna Oldham 
Ronna Oldham 
Madonna Clarke 
Joel Stepanek 
W. A. Kahle 

Hello 1 

One Fall Day 1 

Poem To Sweep By 1 

A Chilly Autumn 2 

Winter scape 2 

Awakening 2 

In The Heaviest Silence 2 

Cardinals 2 

Dusk 2 

Somewhere In The Night 3 

Masturbation And The Male Adolescent3 

Wolf At The Door 5 

Staring Eyes 5 

Pass The Potatoes 6 

The Collectors 6 

Dinosaur 9 

Exploring The Cosmic 9 

At The Sound Of The Beep 10 

Playful 12 

The Folkies ik 

I Hated Mrs. Metzler lk 

Pete Rose Ain't Got Nothin' On Me — 15 

Robert IT 

ATU 20 

If People Were Ageless 20 

Optic Nerve 20 

Premonition 21 

Images At My Window 21 

Parallel Lines 21 

Assumptions 21 

Hope 2k 

Someday 2k 

If There's No Fire, What's The Rush2U 

Firelight Eyes 25 

Mis sing Me 28 

Je Me Cherche Par Tu 29 

Intimate Strangers 29 

Hear The Music -31 

The Desire To Race 31 

Ace ept anc e 35 

Don't Trust Me 35 

Addictions 35 

No Other Year Quite Like It 36 

Steve Siedler 

Joel Stenanek 



Think, boy, think, 
You could be the head of the link, 
If you could link your think to 

Yes, sir. 

No, sir. 

I really must go, sir. 

For I won't link my think to 


Think, son, think, 
If you could drink, 
And sip a risk, 
From the knowledge 
Of the floppy disk. 

Yes, sir. 

No, sir. 

I really will try, sir. 

1100011 110011 1001001 

No, sir. 

Sorry, sir. 

I really must fly, sir. 

Yt e i_ l 

W. A. Kahle 


Golden autumns 
burning up the dawn 
chill a whispering spirit 
into active movement 
floating through the meadow 
on a squirrel's cry 
while the sun peeks 
behind grand greenery. 
A leaf falls 
with indelible grace 
tickling the brows 
of one silent witness 
one fall day. 


Sorry, son, sorry, 

I didn't do my best. 

I let you off easy, 

Didn't put you to the test. 

Test, sir? 

You jest, sir. 

A COMPUTER'S thought is strange. 

One this and zero that, 

There doesn't seem to be room in my hat 

Yes, child, yes. 

You will not try. 

You want everything given, 

You want all the best buys. 

For this, boy, I can't heln you. 
No amount of return will help you 
In this venture. 

You must see it in yourself; 
The fire must burn deep. 
For, if you find on the shelf 
An emptiness, do not weep. 



Ronna Oldham 

Ronna Oldham 




thinking of you 
reminds me of some year-old 
corsage salvaged from an ill-remembered 
homecoming dance, 
it is vacant of any color, 
dry petals 
one , dropping 


in the heaviest silence, 

a wet tear trickled 

down her neck, 

cold as blood, 

and died on her collar, 

while the 

phonograph needle 

rhythmically crackled 

its reminder of doom 

on the edge 

of the record label . . 




Barbara Pillasch 

Barbara Pillasch 



The icebound river 

Creaks and mutters as she shifts 

Her winter burden. 

Crimson comets soar 
Among snow-laden branches 
I long to join them. 



Barbara Pillasch 

Judy Belfield 



Pillow ripped 

along the dotted line — 

ticking under a knifeblade: 

the sound and fury 

of once-married thoughts 

stuffed together 

to fill space 

otherwise occupied 

by the song of idiots 

twice-trilled in darkness 

at the nights' void. 

Few by few 

the feathers loosed 

in a white ooze 

like liquid poured 

over a hard sky 

then blown away 

by gales of empty giggles 

laughed by fools . . . 

I can feel eternity 

from its beginning to its end 

as I am stretched along: 

The neon Schlitz sign 
Throws rosy sequins on the 
Snow-covered sidewalk. 



an idea unthought, 

conjured by a spell 

of madness or 

memory loss, but then 

the difference 

is so small 

and so am I 


Madonna Clarke 


Somewhere in the 
night, sails are up 
to catch the wind 
as it passes by. 
A shadow of the 
sailboat etched into 
the deep, dark blue 
water. Moonlight 
casts unon a visionary 
image of serenity 
throughout a peaceful 
surrounding. Pity, when 
the sun arises to 
destroy the scene of 
tranquility sought 
time and time again. 


Steve Black 


Masturbation can be a very sticky, 
hands-off subject. No one wants to 
talk about it. Very few male adoles- 
cents ever admit to doing it, unless 
compelled to for academic reasons or 
surging, uncontrollable peer pressure. 
Yet this normal, necessary function is 
probably one of the most important 
aspects of a boy's sexual maturation 
process. A need is present to free 
this subject from its societal restric- 
tions. The following discourse will be 
centered on and presented by a male 
viewpoint. Female masturbation, an 
equally touchy subject, should be pre- 
sented through a female viewpoint. 
(Accordingly, this author feels impo- 
tent in expressing fairly the feminine 
perspective within the confines of a 
three to five page paper. Hopefully, 
some ambitious, self-starting female 
will take it upon herself to explore 
the area and do a paper on her own. ) 
Enough forethought. Let this free- 
flowing discussion begin. 

There is quite a large glop of 
information on this subject. Ford 
defined the term most succinctly by 
calling masturbation "... any sort 
of bodily stimulation that results in 

excitation of the genitals. It commonly 
involves handling, rubbing or mouthing 
of the sexual organs, or bringing them 
into contact with some foreign object. "-^ 
The one word that Ford didn't include, 
but might be considered implied, is de- 
liberate. In other words, accidental 
stimulation of the genitalia doesn't 
count. There must be a pre-conceived 
sexual feeling that the adolescent 
vents release to by means of activity 
other than intercourse. (The necessity 
of deliberation is not an original 
idea. Kinsey documented it first. 
Avoidance of another footnote on page 
one was the prime consideration here. 
Footnotes can be so messy to an inex- 
perienced typist who has an unsure hand 
when guiding their placement into a 
text. One doesn't want to waste all 
his limited supply of opaque white cor- 
rection fluid needlessly. ) 

It is fairly common knowledge that 
masturbation is the main means of sexual 
release for adolescents. The reasons 
for this could be lack of a partner, 
vis a vis (those French can do it so 
well) lack of aggressiveness, ability 
or want in obtaining a partner. For 
brevity's sake, lack of a partner, for 
whatever reason, is the primary reason 
for this activity. Adolescents, just 
having discovered this source of enjoy- 
able sexual release, are going to do it, 
again and again and again and (yes) 
again. They will do it at least until 
they find a partner. They might contin- 
ue doing it after they find a partner, 
but the reasons for that are too ex- 
tensive and would constitute an entire- 
ly different subject and analysis. -(Just 
off the top of his head, this author be- 
lieves narcissism is a guilty party in 
that type of discussion. But since it 
isn't my original idea — someone has had 
to think of it before me — I don't like 
it. Back to the topic at hand.) 

Kinsey (Footnotes can't be held back 
any longer. Be prepared for a large pud- 
dle of opaque white correction fluid. ) 
reported that "... In the present 
records, the highest-rating males were 
masturbating with .average frequencies 
of 23 per week in early adolescence. 
These maximum average frequencies drop 

IClennon S. Ford, Patterns of Sexual 
Behavior , (New York: Harper & Row, 1951 ), 
p. 153. 



Masturbation And The Male Adolescent, continued 

to 15 per week by twenty years of age, 
to 6 per week by fifty years of age, 
and to once in two weeks at sixty years 
of age . . . For the active popula- 
tion, average frequencies of mastur- 
bation in early adolescence are nearly 
two and a half (2.U) per week, but a 
goodly number (11%) of the boys at 
that age may average four to seven 
times a week, or oftener . . . 
In a nutshell, boys do it, and they do 
it as much as they can. Kinsey's 
data is nearly forty years old, but the 
maxim still works as well today as it 
did back then. 

The techniques of adolescents 
in masturbation can be overwhelming 
in quantity and quality. Some can 
even become downright kinky. Stick- 
ing to the protocol of a serious 
academic thesis, the techniques de- 
scribed in this paper will be nar- 
rowed down to manual operation of 
the penis and moving the penis a- 
gainst an inanimate object. The 
former is basically self-explanatory. 
The latter could consist of beds, 
desks, typewriters, tables, chairs, 
floors, rugs, cars, sinks, telephone 
poles; the list is endless. Ima- 
gination is the only limitation for 
the industrious male adolescent 
self-stimulator. And for the most 
part, it is a solo sport. 

Skolnick has said that, "Most 
boys learn about masturbation from 
other boys, rather than discover- 
ing it on their own. "3 This author's 
extensive research has found that 
most adolescents discover masturba- 
tion originally on their own; then 
possibly, but no more than once or 
twice, participate in group self- 
grope sessions, (in the author's 
opinion, extensive group self- 
grope sessions would eventually 
lead to entrance into the closet of 
homosexuality, another entirely 
different subject which cannot be 
backed into in a three to five 
page paper. This author is not 
homosexual, nor does he claim to know 
the homosexual perspective. But 
he would think that the homosexual 
response to Skolnick is "no girls 

The significance of mastur- 
bation for the male adolescent is 
overwhelming and can fill volumes 

of pages. Most research prior to 
Kinsey linked masturbation to everything 
from blindness to total mental insanity. 
Today, in the post-Kinsey era, masturba- 
tion is probably still frowned unon 'oy polil 
society, grudgingly condoned by moderate, 
middle-of-the-road society, and completely 
accepted by free-thinking, progressive 
society. Kinsey said it best (The last 
footnote. The suppy of onaque white cor- 
rection fluid is running dangerously low. ) 
"Millions of boys have lived in continual 
mental conflict over this problem. For 
that matter, many a boy still does. Many 
boys pass through a periodic succession of 
attempts to stop the habit, inevitable 
failures in those at tempts, consequent per- 
iods of remorse, the making of new resolu- 
tions — and a new start on the whole cycle. 
It is difficult to imagine anything 
better calculated to do permanent damage to 
the personality of an individual."^ 
(Whew. That was a long one. Time for a 
little rest . . . Okay. All better now. ) 
In other words, guilt is imposed by so- 
ciety r but should be erased for the well- 
being of the adolescent. It is all right 
to indulge. Just don't become obsessive 
(precariously close to another topic en- 
tirely). After all, it's more fun with 

In summary, male adolescent mastur- 
bation can be guilt-ridden,' but shouldn't 
be, for the well-being of the adolescent's 
psyche. Go ahead, do it. There's nothing 
to be ashamed of. It's a normal sexual 
release. What? You think you'll go 
blind? No . . . no . . .no. Don't 
worry. Everyone else does it. They might 
deny it, but don't believe them. It's- 
harder to feel guilty about something if 
you can admit its existence. (Could this 
be too philosophical? Not true to the 
intent of this paper? Indiscriminate 
rambling in order to fill the fifth page 
in a three to five page paper? Probably. 
But the author feels that writing this papei 
within the confines of his current shop- 
ping mall of higher education's available 

2 Alfred C. Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the 
Human Male (Philadelphia & London: W. B. 
Saunders Co., 19U9), pp. 506-507 

3Arlene S. Skolnick, The Psychology of Hu- 
man Development .(San Diego: Harcourt Brace 
Jovanovich, Inc., 1986), p. UUU 

k . 
Kinsey, Ibid. 


( continued) 

Masturbation And The Male Adolescent, continued 

research material, while at the same time 
not plagiarizing too extensively what 
research material he has found, can be 
analogous to playing with one's self — 
attending JJC — as opposed to making love 
with another human being—attending a 
four-year university. Not to blow his 
own horn, but this author does have a 
degree from ah accredited four-year 
state university, therefore feels he 
has some knowledge, however small, on 
this subject. 

Is this mean? It's not meant to 
be mean. Just an attempt to inform 
naive eighteen and nineteen-year-old 
students that textbooks and instructors 
of theory are not always in tune with 
present-day reality. Reading and memor- 
izing something is theoretically sound, 
but being naid for these abilities is 

Judy Belfield 


lot impossible, but very unlikely, at 
least in the entry-level job markets. 
Hands-on experience pays. Don't let any 
self-serving pseudo-intellectuals tell 
you otherwise . . . More than enough 
pompous ranting has been done by this 
author. Time to zip up this report.) 
Once you admit it, you'll find that every- 
one else is relieved just as much as 
you are; they wanted to admit it, but 
didn't have the courage. Adolescent 
masturbation, if not too excessive, 
(Watch out! Another entirely different 
subject!) is nothing to worry about. 
For that matter, post-adolescent mastur- 
bation shouldn't be frowned upon, either. 
Taking that last sentence literally, 
it's time this paper came to a close . . . 

Ford, Clennon S. Patterns of Sexual Be- 
havior , New York: Harrier & Row, 

Kinsey, Alfred C. Sexual Behavior in the 
Human Male , Philadelphia & London: 
W. B. Saunders, 19^9. 

Skolnick, Arlene S. The Psychology of 
Human Development , San Diego : Har- 
court Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1936. 

We laugh 

all the blue shades 

of April afternoons 

as bright as Pacific heaven 

over golden verses 

embroidered in the earth. 

Praise the one 

who brings giggles 

in straw wheelbarrows , 

ladles them out 

like water 

we cup in our hands ; 

they trickle through 

drop singly 

into the grass, 

bounce up again 

and echo ha-ha's to the distant hills 

We laugh, 

repeat the music 

of Adam's grandfathers 

from the first mornings 

to now, 

share the moment 

when fear is paralyzed 

like air in a balloon 

just before the pop. 


Ellen Bryce 


Staring eyes 

Chill me to the bone 

Insidious feelings 

Gnaw at me 

Ghostly, claw-like hands 

Clutch cold steel fences 

Blue-boned skeleton faces 

Ask why, with mouths agapin^ 

Listen, listen 
Before it's too late 
You children of tomorrow 
You children laughing 
The gentle days are gone 
No place to hide 
Living hell is ours 
Innocence is over 




Sharon Peck 



I'm. afraid that I'm a victim^ 

Of an unexamined dictum. 

For when potatoes I must hake 

No chances do I dare to take. 

My mother often told me, 

When, on her lap, she'd hold me. 

"You never know what might occur." 

(I swear she said this,' just ask her) 

"Potatoes can explode you see 

And what a faux pas that would be 

To plan to serve a dinner guest , 

Who comes , expecting all the best , 

And open up the oven door 

To learn you should have baked one more! 

So plan that this will not take place 

But bake an extra ...just in case." 

Now you may find this very strange, 

But though I try, I cannot change. 

So to this day this rule does govern: 

One for each guest and one for the oven. 

Barbara Pillasch 


I met the Sloans a few days after 
I moved, to Gilt on. While working in 
my antique shop one morning, trying 
to make order out of chaos , so I 
could get open for business, I heard 
a rapping at the window. I opened 
the door and in marched a large wo- 
man of about thirty-five, with the 
shortest, reddest hair I had ever 

"Welcome to the block. Always 
glad to see another shop open. Mine 
is on the corner, two doors from 
you. Jack Lindquist is next door. 
You'll meet him eventually. The 
Sloans are across the street. They 
are nuts . I'm Bonnie." 

"Nice of you to come over. My 
name is Louise. What do you mean, 
they're nuts?" 

"You'll see. This place is a 
mess," she said, pushing at an empty 
box with her foot. "Come on, take 
a break. I'll introduce you. to them." 

As we crossed the street, she 

told me, "He's a retired army man, or 
something, gets a decent tension, I hear. 
Don't think Mrs. has been feeling too 
well lately." We reached the door and she 
opened it, holding it for me. As I 
entered, she said, "Brace yourself." 

I noticed the odor first. Mustiness 
pervaded the huge building like something 
alive, creeping into my nose and throat. 
I sneezed. My eyes adjusted slowly to 
the dimness inside after the July sunshine. 
The first thing I saw was a monstrous 
picture of a stalking tiger, painted on 
black velvet in shades of orange and gold. 
It appeared to be irridescent. That will 
glow in the dark, I thought. Looking arour. 
I saw an enormous high-ceilinged room that 
seemed to go all the way back to infinity. 

The room was packed from floor to 
rafters with an incredible array of things . 
Not angiques. Things. Every inch of 
wall space was covered with shelves or pic- 
tures. ' Shelves full of books, shelves 
full of planters , the kind you pick up at 
garage sales for ten cents, mostly -elastic. 
Shelves were jammed with fruit jars, 
crammed with lamps, lamp bases, lamp 
parts, lamp shades. Shelf after shelf hel: 
old and not-so-old, tarnished silverplate 
trays, sugars and creamers, candle holders. 
teapots, coffee pots, most of them dented, 
the silver worn off. Shelves brimmed with 
Tupperware, old dishes. There were yards 
of shelves full of children's toys, not old 
enough to be collectible, just used and 
battered, lying on the shelves like forgot- 
ten memories. 

Any space not holding a shelf was 
occupied by a picture. Pictures of every 
size and description, frames broken, crumb- 
ling. I saw artificial Christmas trees, 
stands, ornaments, a few dried-up plants, 
what seemed like miles of old tools , and a 
bird's nest. And more books. 

Most astounding of all was the fact 
that this room, with its gigantic volume 
of junk, was incredibly neat and clean. 
Each item rested in its place, lovingly 
organized, classified, arranged, and hung. 
A few pieces of used furniture stood arounc 
decrepit , forlorn . 

Along the north wall, precisely in 
the center, was an area, about ten feet 
by six feet, which held a small weary- 
looking sofa. A large, round wooden table 
with a sawed-off base served as a coffee 
table, which sat on a clean, but worn 
Oriental rug. An electric coffee pot was 
perking cheerfully. There were a few 
dishes and a box from the bakery, next 


( continued) 

The Collectors, continued 

door." On the sofa sat a tiny, elder- 
ly couple. 

They rose and walked toward us. 
Bonnie said, "Hey, you tvo, this is 
Louise, the nev antique dealer from 
across the street." To me, "This is 
Bill and Ellen Sloan. Oh, damn! 
Someone .just vent into mv shop. See 
you later." We watched her hurry 
across the strqet, her red cap of 
hair bobbing and gleaming in the sun. 

I turned back to the Sloans and 
saw two very fragile, very old people 
smiling up at me. They were exactly 
the same size. I was sure, if put on 
a scale, they would weigh exactly the 
same. The similarity ended there. 
Mr. Sloan's full head of black hair 
was obviously a wig. His dark eyes, in 
a taut, angular face darted continually, 
seeming curiously tired and sad at the 
same time. His fragile-looking body 
arched like a bow, but he moved with 
surprising agility. 

His wife was a pale wraith with 
soft white hair that lay in waves around 
her thin, once-pretty face. She was so 
unsteady and looked so frail that I 
had to restrain myself from taking her 

Before we could say anything, 
the door opened. A young man entered, 
looked startled, then began to browse, 
trying to appear nonchalant. Mr. 
Sloan hurried over to him and began to 
trail him around the shop. Every time 
the man picked something up, Mr. Sloan 
snapped, "Be careful!" The man picked up 
a lamp base, checked the price tag, and 
with an incredulous expression, put it 
back. "Careful, careful! You 
browsers. I'm going to start charging 
you guys one dollar for admission. 
You think this is a museum, or what?" 
I admired the young man's restraint 
as he silently headed for the door. 
As he shot past us, Mrs. Sloan chirped 
gaily, "You cone back soon, you 

"Well, I really have to be going," 
I said. "It was very nice meeting you." 
I needed to get out of there. That 
smell. It must have been from all of 
the old books. I sneezed again. 

"Sit down, sit down," commanded 
Mr. Sloan. "Have some coffee. Lock 
the door, Ellen. I've had enough of 
browsers." As she started for the 
door, he said, "Never mind, I'll get 

the door. You go sit down, too." 
His voice became gentle when he spoke to 

"How can you sell anything if you 
don't let people browse?" I asked, timid- 

"Can't be bothered," his voice 
harsh again. "People want everything for 
nothing. I'd rather keep it." 

"Coffee?" Mrs. Sloan smiled up at me. 

"I really do have to run, Mrs. 

"Well. Come again soon, dear. I'll 
show you our collections." 

"I will," I promised, and made my 

As the months passed, I came to know 
the Sloans quite well. That they were 
eccentric, there was no doubt. The sign 
in front of their shop read, "Antiques," 
but an antique rarely appeared. They 
just bought things. Anything. I fre- 
quently attended auctions , honing to find 
merchandise for my shop. I often ran into 
them, at these sales. They bought every- 
thing that nobody else wanted if it didn't 
cost more than one dollar. 

"This whole box of goodies for two 
dollars, folks. Two dollars! Do I hear 
one dollar?" the exasperated auctioneer 
would shout. "You folks are missing the 
boat ! " 

"Fifty cents," Mr. Sloan would say. 

"Sold! Fifty cents!" Box after box 
full of old rusty cookie tins, light bulbs, 
empty cigar boxes; things that should 
have been trashed before the auction be- 
gan. When Mrs. Sloan became tired, her 
husband would load their treasures into 
their station wagon, haul them to their- 
shop, where they would be sorted, labled, 
and over-priced. 

I often found them rummaging through 
their precious boxes, exclaiming delighted- 
ly at each item. "Oh, look, Bill, an 
old pair of eyeglasses to add to our 
collection." Or, "A birdhouse! We 
don't have one of these. Let's start 
a collection." 

I visited the Sloans often, once 
I got used to the mustiness of the shop. 
I grew fond of them. Mrs. Sloan was 
consistently pleasant, although lately 
she was becoming more and more detached 
and vague. Mr. Sloan was an extremely 
private man, and as long as I respected 
that, we got along fine. I was touched 
by his gentle kindness to his failing 


( continued) 

The Collectors, continued 

wife. I worried about them. They 
seemed so . . . breakable. 

It didn't take me long to realise 
that they did not want to sell any- 
thing. They never admitted this, 
probably not even to themselves. The 
antique shop was just a rationale. 
Occasionally some neophyte wandered 
in and bought something, in spite of 
Mr. Sloan's rudeness, thinking that 
because he was in an antique shop, 
the item must have been an antique. 
Mr. Sloan would sell the item, grudg- 
ingly, then close the shop for the rest 
of the day, complaining, "I have work 
to do. I can't get organized with all 
these browsers in my way." 

It was not unusual for their sta- 
tion wagon to be parked in front of 
their shop, and the "Closed" sign to 
be on the door all day. I pictured 
them in there, sorting, sorting. 
They began to spend more time there, 
often late into the evening, as though 
reluctant to leave collections. 

I noticed, as time passed, that 
Mr. Sloan was looking increasingly 
tired and worried. I checked on them 
every day, sometimes using the key 
that I had browbeat them into giving 
me. Mrs. Sloan had retreated further 
into her own. world, spending most of 
her day on the sofa. She smiled, 
still, whenever we were able to cap- 
ture her attention. Mr. Sloan stopped 
going to auctions. There were still 
dozens of boxes to be unpacked, how- 
ever. He would drag a box over to her, 
kneel and pull things out for her 
to see. "Another bottle opener, 
Ellen! Here, look at this. For your 
basket collection," holding up a broken, 
bedraggled Easter basket with a 
tattered pink bow on the handle. I 
watched them, wondering, How do 
they find each other, these people? 

Sometimes Mrs. Sloan would 
laugh and reach for the treasure. 
More often, she would seem to tear 
her eyes from some inner scene — ■ 
where was she? — and look at her hus- 
band with vacant eyes. Smiling ab- 
sently, she would return to wherever 
she had been pulled from. A^ these 
times he would gaze at her, his eyes 
no longer darting; just black pools 
of grief. 

One day, I found him coaxing her 

to eat. Tenderly he begged her. "No." 
She pushed the fork away. I tried, not 
for the first time, to talk to him about 
her. "I'm taking care of her." 

"I'm worried about you. You lock sc 

"Don't worry." He turned away, dis- 
missing me. 

"She should be in bed." 

"She cries when I make her stay in 
bed. She's afraid I'll leave her. She 
says she wants to be with our things. 
It perks her up to come here. For a while. 
Me too. Everything we own is here. We 
need to be here." 

I looked around at the collections. 
How many years of accumulating had there 
been before they had decided to haul it all 
to this building, so that they could con- 
tinue to add to it? How long had it taken 

Dear God, I thought. I should do 
something, I didn't know what to do. 
"You have got to do something," I said. 

"I know." 

I left him, his back to me, bendina: 
over his wife, stroking her hair, mur- 
muring to her. 

That had been the day before. I went 
to bed. I managed to sink into a half- 
sleep. I lay there, the humming of the fur- 
nace soothing me. Each time it shut off, 
I rose out of sleep, listening, waiting 
for it to start again. Thoughts 
of the Sloans drifted in and out of my 

Not having seen their car that day, I 
had assumed that they had stayed home becau. 
of the extreme cold; yet I had seen a 
light. It hadn't registered until later. 
Something bothered me. So what, so they 
forgot to turn their light off, I told 
myself. I fell asleep at last. 

Sunshine nudged me awake. Thoughts 
of the Sloans stirring as though they had 
never stopped. Maybe they parked in the 
back of their shop. Why would they do 
that? Stop it. Something. As I dressed, 
Something pulled at me, tangible, like 
annoying fingers, picking, prodding, pluck- 
ing. I looked at the thermometer outside 
my bedroom window. Twenty-three degrees 
below zero. "I hate this!" I exclaimed 
out loud. 



"Awwk!" said Fred, from the living 


The Collectors, continued 

Heading for the front window, I 
absently yanked the cover from his cage 
as I went by, startling him so he 
teetered on his perch. 

"Good morning, Fred," I grumbled. 

"Good morning, Fred," he said. 

I looked out of the window and 
immediately felt the sensation I had 
experienced the evening before, the 
sense that the world had stopped. I 
felt lightheaded. The aged storefronts 
shimmered out of focus in the sunshine. 
As though propelled, I bundled up, 
feeling silly, feeling panic creep up my 
body like sucking quicksand, encasing 
my legs and arms, turning them into leaden 

I stepped into the sunshine. I 
didn't feel the cold. I walked to 
the shop across the street in that bril- 

liant, sly, lethal cold that I didn't 
feel. -I unlocked the door and stepped 
inside. I felt the cold, then, deep as 
doom. In the bright light, I saw them, 
lying together on the sofa, released, 
in a frozen embrace. 

An hour later I came home, walked 
around the house and through the back 
yard to the sun-drenched river. I stood 
there awhile, listening to it creak and 
mutter as it shifted its winter burden. 
When I turned away, I saw the dog. He 
was standing near the empty dish, head 
up, watching me. I went toward him. 
He didn't move. I walked past him to 
the house to get his food. Slowly, 
he followed me. 


Joel Stepanek 

W. A. Kahle 



Great big lizard 
Millions of years 
Real big gizzard 
Little tiny ears 
Great big lizard 

Kinetic forces 

slicing apart the sky 

a trillion megawatts growling 

a power-starved madness 

as the rain falls. 

Not real smart 
Lasted real long 
Never knew Jarts 
Never had Pong 
Not real smart 

Black, heinous clouds 

floating in defiance 

spit in sopping release 

to quench the scorched earth 

lusting for the favor implied. 

How did you end? 
Never had smoking 
Never had the bends 
It could end in choking 
How did you end? 

Unleased winds 

ravaging the west 

will gain momentum — 

to take the unguarded down 

with a simpleton's whimper. 

Will we follow your fate? 

Did you get someone mad? 

Did mom yell because you were late? 

Did Commies make you sad? 

Will we follow your fate? 

On star-filled nights 

the peaceful seconds are waiting 

like a centenarian's grace 

to let each aeon evenly pass . . 

into a single, mammoth text. 



If a tear falls 
on a lonely face today, 
or tomorrow, or next year, 
one may wish to view it — 
if they have the patience. 


Ruth Bos'ard 



Hi. This is 5271 and .Bill's 
not home right no v. If you leave your 
name and number he'll return your 
call. BEEP. 

Hey, this is Ken. What a 
boring message. Do something more 
creative next time. Remember, you're 
in the big city now. Why don't you 
try to get a date with Linda, the 
good-looking receptionist at work. 
Then I'll try and get a .date and we 
can double. Tell me if you get 
lucky by Wednesday. 

Bill, this is your mother call- 
ing. Where are you? It's 8:30 and 
you should be home from work by now. 
If you want me to, I can take a train 
up to the city this weekend, 
straighten up your apartment and do 
some laundry. Call me back. I love 


(Hawaiian music is in the back- 
ground) Hi. This is Bill and I'm not 
home right now because I'm touring 
the islands. Just leave your message 
after the BEEP. 

prank. Ha. 

Bill, here. Linda called a little 
while ago and left a message on my machine, 
Her voice really did things to my libido. 
How's Friday night at 7:°0? 


You have reached Bill ' s Bachelor Pad 
and if it's Linda say something sexy. 

Bill, this is your mother, and who's 
Linda. In my day, nice girls didn't call 
boys. It's not proper. I'm sorry I 
can't visit you this weekend because you 
have to work Friday night. I think your 
boss is giving you too many hours. Maybe 
I should call him and tell him you need so: 
time off. The dog has been wandering 
around the house looking for you. I also 
thought of you and mailed you some cookies, 
Call me if you're not BEEP. 


(Music is heard) 
who . . . who, who? 

Who are you 


Ken, this is Bill. I'm not too sure 
I did the right thing about lying to my 
mom. I never did that before. Well, I'm 
heading out to the health club. See you. 

Hi. It's Linda calling and I hope 
you're not really gone on vacation 
because I can go on Friday night. Mex- 
ican food sounds great too. I also 
picked up something real special to 
wear. See you at work. 

It's your mother again. I hope 
it's a joke about the vacation. 
You're such a kidder. Why haven't 
you called me back? The past few 
weeks the house seems so empty with- 
out you. Call me back whatever time 
you get home and you can tell me 
all about work. I love you. 


You have reached Ken's answering 
machine which takes over for him when 
he leaves reality. Just leave your, 
name and bra size at the BEEP 

I'm a size UUD and your mascu- 
linity makes me hot and this is a 


You have reached 5271 and at the sound 
of the beep leave your name and number. 

Hello, William. This is Dr. Emery and 
I thought I should notify you that your 
mother injured herself by falling down the 
stairs. She can't get around the house ' 
because her back hurts. She suggested I 
call you and tell you about her condition 
and hint to you to come home this weekend. 


Thank God, it's Friday. If you share 
that belief just give old Ken your name and 
number and maybe we can go party tonight. 

Ken, you're going to kill me. I have 
to go back home and get my mom all situa- 
ted because she hurt herself. Could vou 
please break the news to Linda. I have to 
go catch a train. 
■10- (continued) 

At the Sound of the Beep, continued 

Hi. This is Commonwealth Edison 
and we'd like to know if your refri- 
gerator is running. If it is, we suggest 
you go catch it. Ka! 


You have reached 5271 and at the 
sound of the "beep, leave your name and 
number . BEEP . 

I hope you don't mind, buddy, 
but I took out Linda last night. We 
have a lot in common. I hope you're not 
too mad. I got to run. I have to pick 
her up in a half hour. She looked great 
last night. Chow. 


You have reached 5271, and at the 
sound of the beep, leave your name and 
number. BEEP. 

Now, that's a real nice message 
to have on your machine. I think you 
should keep it that way. Girls won't 
get the wrong idea about my son. Thanks 
for coming up to help me this weekend. 
You're my good boy. I love you. 

I was glad to see you back at 
work. Linda and I were talking at 
lunch and she has a friend she could 
fix you up with this weekend. That's if 
you're not running an errand for your 
mother or something. I won't be at 
work tomorrow because I'm going shopping 
for some new clothes. Adios. 


Ken is out right now running up 
his Visa bill. If you'd like to make 
a donation to the cause, leave your 
name and credit card number after the 

Go ahead and fix me up with the 
girl and she'd better be good-looking. 
I'm going to work out. See ya. 

(Heavy breathing) I want you. I 
want you. I want you. Ha! 


You have reached 5271, and at the 
sound of the beep, leave your name and 
number. BEEP. 

I know you said you can't come 
home for awhile, but I had to fire 

that nurse. She was always telling 
me what to do. Maybe you can take the 
train home after work on Friday. It won't 
take you too long to find someone else.. 
I love you. 


I have a tracer on this phone and the 
next prank call I get , I will find you, and 
J will kill you. If you're a friend, 
leave your name and number. 3SEP. 

Having some troubles with weirdos, 
Ken? This girl I'm going out with tomor- 
row better be good. I'm feeling really 
guilty. I had to say no to my mother. 
I'm standing by my decision. See you at 

Sorry, I'm calling back again. 
Aren't you ever home? What time did you 
say we were leaving tomorrow? Wasn't' it 
right after work? I guess I bring a change 
of clothes then. 


You have reached 5271, and at the sound 
of the beep, leave your name and number. 

Billy, if you're there, please 
pick up. I'm real lonely and my back 
hurts. The house is so ernDty and quiet. 
The neighbor came over today and made me 
some casseroles. I hate defending 
on people. If you lived here, I wouldn't 
have to owrry. You could find a job 
like yours near home. If you get home 
early BEEP. 


You have reached 5271, and at the 
sound of the beep, leave your name and 
number. BEEP. 

William, this is Dr. Emery. I 
felt it was important to call and tell 
you that your mother has had a nervous 
breakdown. She's in Memorial Hospital. 


You have reached 5271, and at the 
sound of the beep, leave your name and 
number . BEEP . 

Bill, this is Ken. Where were you 
at work. Did that girl tire you out 
this weekend? Call me back. 



At the Sound of the Beep, continued 


You have reached 5271, and at 
the sound of the been, leave your 
name and number. 3EEP. 

Come on, Bill, if you are there, 
pick up . . .I'm Worried about you. 

Call me. OK? 


The number you have reached, 5-2- 
701, has been disconnected. 


Steve Siedler 


"Excuse me, what does it take to 
get some service around here?" a large 
woman boomed. 

Better legs and a short skirt 
would help. "I'm sorry. How can I 
help you?" I asked politely. My 
God! Obviously the illness had 
spread to a point that I knew I 
couldn't help her at all. 

"These shoes were a gift, and they 
don't fit." She shoved a bag at me. 
Bull. You bought 'em for one night 
and are returning them because you 
know that your husband will never take 
you out in public again. "Well, let's 
take a look here." I carefully ex- 
tracted the shoes from a J. C. Penney 
bag, not even a box. I looked at the 
style and read the label. Receipt? 
Of course not. 

"Madame?" I asked. 

"Yes," she answered. 

No doubt with legs like those she 
obviously couldn't work the streets 
any more. "I'm sorry, but this store 
doesn't carry this brand." Basically 
because it was a shitty brand, and the 
uppers were plastic. 

"My husband bought them here. 
He told me to ask for the older man, 
the manager, I think." 

I am the manager. "Oh, maybe it 
was Jim. Did he have a beard?" 

"Yes , I think so . My husband 
said that the man told him that he 
could bring them back if they didn't 

Bob , the only other employee , 
was twenty, and baby- faced. "I'm 
really sorry, but we don't carry this 
brand." I wasn't sorry in the least. 
"Your husband must be mistaken about 
the store name." 

"No, he wasn't. You had this 

shoe here last month," she stated confi- 
dently. "Let me speak to the older man." 

"I'm sorry, but I'm the oldest em- 
ployee here, and we did not have this brand 
last month." Or last year, or ever. 

"I don't like your attitude. Let 
me speak to the manager, now!" she de- 

You have been, Stupid. See, it says 
so right on the name tag. "I am the mana- 
ger, and we do not carry this brand of 
shoe. If you can find a receipt or a box, 
the store name should be on it . " 

"I told you, they were a gift," ■ 
she snapped. I pitied the man that was 
forced, by tradition, to buy gifts for 
this woman. 

"I'm sorry, but since we don't carry 
the brand, there's really not much I 
can do for you." 

"So what am I supposed to do with 
them?" Obviously becoming upset. 

Stick them between your thighs and 
start walking. I bet you could get five 
miles before they fall out. "I would talk 
to your husband again about the store 

"Well, I'll let you talk to him 
about that." she pouted. "What is your 

Oh, thank you for the privilege. 

"Steve. Have a nice day." 

I watched her waddle out, then turned 
and walked slowly into the stock room, 
adding a chalk mark to several already 
on a small chalk board with the day ' s 
date on it. I turned up the volume on the 
boom box, then spun around twice, arriving 
back behind the counter. 

I kept a loaded squirt gun next to 
the stapler. I paused, then quickly 
grabbed the gun and shot a quick burst 
at a target strategically placed es- 
pecially for that purpose. The target 


( continued) 

Playful, continued 

was a small plastic card with the head 
of a gorilla on it, complete with glaring, 
blood-shot eyes. The caption read, 
"Patience, my ass. I'm gonna kill some- 
thing!" I zapped him in the forehead, 
then walked hack to the chalkboard 
and placed an X through the latest 
addition. Ten for ten, not bad, eh? 

She vas history, just like the kid 
who entered the store with popcorn, then 
left casually when he dumped it in the 
Reebok display, the old man who smeared 
the entire front display window with 
prints from a hand covered with an un- 
known brown substance, and the freight 
driver who tried to quick-talk me into 
signing for a shipment that was four 
cases short. The elderly woman who had 
tried on every size six in the place even 
though she was at least a seven and a 
half was up on that board, along with the 
man returning a pair of Frye boots with 
two inches of toe neatly chopped off, 
sole and upper, and the well-dressed 
young lady who had implied both that I 
was not particularly bright, and that I 
was looking up her dress. I thought about 
her for a moment, then erased her mark. 
She had been half right. But the 
others were gone. Poof! Off the face 
of the earth. Vaporized. 

I had only shot the gorilla for 
some of them. The others had met 
their demise via Bob's suction-cup dart 
gun, shot directly into the face of 
Fred, the three-foot tall stuffed bum 
sitting in a corner of the stock room. 
Fred had a plastic face, and when the 
suction cups were a little wet, they 
really hung onto old Fred's face. Fred 
had taken a double shot because of the 
man who had spouted for a half-hour 
about how he could never smile and be 
courteous to the public day after day. 
Of course, he didn't know about the me- 
thods and devices that we used to main- 
tain that smile. 

There was even a faceless X on the 
board. At 9:30 a.m., a man had called 
and asked, "How would you like to get 
your dick sucked?" It had been early. 
All I had come up with was, "Not by you, 
but what's your mother look like?" 

Yep, ten for ten, not bad. I 
checked my watch, 1:15 p.m., not bad 
at all. I decided to reload the squirt 
gun. The rush hadn't started yet. 
Then I put my "Verbal Abuse Accepted 

With A Smile" sign on the second level of 
the counter, just out of sight of the pub- 
lic. I had a reputation for patience to 
maintain, but the public certainly needed 
no added incentive to verbally abuse the 

Bob came in slowly, not hesitating 
to hesitate upon entrance. He was late. 
Good, I would leave early. Bob was a nice 
guy, but he had a tendency to disappear 
when potential disagreements escalated into 
real disagreements. Besides, I was paid 
an exorbitant salary to singlehandedly 
cure the psychological disorders of customers, 
most of whom seemed to be entering their 
mid-life crisis and not quite sure how to 
deal with it , except to abuse those strug- 
gling to maintain a positive philosophical 
outlook on life in general. I frowned 
at Bob. 

"Yes," he stated, rather than asked. 

"What was the question?" I asked 
with a puzzled expression. 

"It's cold outside." Bob was an 
exciting conversationalist. 

"Is it as cold outside now as when. 
it was cold outside before?" 

Bob paused, the n asked, "Steve, 
you ever notice that you're a little 

"Yes , but I keep hoping that , if 
I eat my vegetables, someday I'll grow up 
to be a big weird." 

Bob shook his head, then asked, "Did 
I tell you my sister got herself pregnant?" 

"I thought only earthworms could do 
that . " 

We were inter runted by a small mi- 
nority person, Asian probably. 3ob -called 
them Yabba-Dabba-Doo people because, 
somehow, no matter what they said, it came 
out sounding like Flintstone's Yabba- 
Dabba-Doo. I pointed to the right and 
nodded. He appeared satisfied. 

An expression of ecstasy, something 
like, "shit, yeah!" exploded from the 
stock room. Upon investigation, Bob had 
placed a dart right on old Fred's nose. 
He had been trying to put one there for 
six weeks. He was elated. 

"I'm taking a break. The place is 
yours for awhile," I informed him. He 
appeared disappointed. I didn't blame 
him. As I walked out, I was already 
dreading my return. 

Contrary to company policy, I got 
into my car and drove away. I began to 
ponder the earth-shaking significance 



Playful, continued 

of my glorious contribution to hu- 
manity in general. I thought about my 
life as I drove. I had the freedom 
to accelerate, to stop, to turn. 
Driving was one of the few things I 
had direct control over. Driving, and 
the volume of my car stereo. But, it 
occurred to me as I pulled away from 
a red Datsun with a sign in the window, 
"Ex-Girlfriend In Trunk," and part 
of a blonde wig and half a glove pro- 
truding from the closed car trunk, 
that I had a degree of control over 
a lot more things than I had given 
myself credit for. 

It was easy to listen to others 
tell me that it was my life, and to 
live it, but quite another to actually 
R-E-A-L-I-Z-E that it was the truth. 
Naive in my own way, it was a reali- 
zation that forced me to pull over 
to an outside pay phone. I called a 
few old friends and invited them to 
dinner. Not B. S. friends, but 
people I could count on to tell me 
when I was full of shit, my own 
official family. Then I called Bob 
and told him I . was leaving work early 
on my day off. 

"No way!" was his response. 

"Bob, shut up — and do the books 
tonight," was mine. 

Another realization hit- me later, 
when, even on such short notice, 
almost everyone I cared about showed 
up, not that there was a huge crowd, 
but I wasn't keeping score. You don't 
give a point spread on unofficial 
family, and you don't get embarrassed 
with them either, because the only 
people watching are the poor souls 
that don't have anything better to 

I decided that evening that 
world peace did not come under my 
direct jurisdiction, and that I 
couldn't kiss-it-and-make-it-better 
for the world. I had enough to con- 
centrate on in my own little skulli- 
sphere . 

The next morning I arrived a 
little late to open the store. I 
had stopped at a printing shop. 
After the usual morning set up 
routine, I turned up the boom box, 
hung old Fred by the neck from the 
rafters, and put a new sign on the 
counter, in plain sight of the public. 

It read, "Verbal Abuse "lot Accented Here — 
At - All ! " 

I was in a. good mood, and intended 
to stay that way. At 10:30 a.m., the 
husband of the fat lady from the day before 
called to tell me that he would have my 
job because of the way I had treated his 
wife. It was early. All I could cone 
up with was, "You want it that bad, you 
can have it." Then I hung up on him. Eor 
some reason, the gorilla was safe. 


Doug Paul 


Strummin guitars 

in Central Park . 

and wail in on your harp 

the gospel truth 

from a nasal voice 

you're detached, somehow apart 

living in the village 

warholian decor 

rubbing elbows with the underground 

Big Brothers on your back 

drink coffee with Mr. Hoffman 

everyone calls you cat 

sister's out in Frisco 

stealing all your riffs 

the music ' s not what ' s changing 

just the chemicals we use 

she didn't change her name 

but they love her just the same 

Goodbye Joan and Bobby 

your voices are seldom heard now 

The times have been a-changin 

and dixie's underground 

but you gave us an alternative 

right when we needed it most 


Tony Kocielko 


She was a big woman y hard-faced., 
dowdy, and we hated her as only a bunch 
of nine-year-old fourth-graders could. 



I Hated Mrs. Metzler, continued 

She taught with an iron hand. 
Whether the subject be English, math, 
spelling, or history, Mrs. Metzler 
made it seem extremely difficult . She 
was a stickler for detail and accuracy. 

I remember telling my mother that 
Mrs. Metzler didn't teach us anything. 
That was how it seemed to me. She gave 
us reading assignments and, the next day, 
would simply assume that we knew every- 
thing in the reading assignment. Prior 
to the fourth grade, we did all the 
reading in class along with the teacher. 
This approach, of course, put part of the 
blame for our ignorance on the teacher. 
Mrs. Metzler put the burden of learn- 
ing on us. If we didn't know the material, 
it was our own fault, nobody else's. 

Mrs. Metzler never ever lost her 
temper. She didn't even raise her voice 
and seemed to be the most patient per- 
son alive. This trait, however, does 
not mean that she couldn't be mean. 
Her meanness took the form of education 
by memorizing. I spent nearly every re- 
cess of the fourth grade inside, copying 
my multiplication tables one hundred 
times each. An icy stare from her could 
bring perspiration by the pint from 
around my waist. 

The reason I remember her so well, 
was that the woman was the fairest tea- 
cher I ever had. There were no teacher's 
pets in her class. She showed abso- 
lutely no favoritism. If the smartest 
girl in class forgot her book, she had 
to write one hundred times, Just like 
the ne'er-do-well in the back if the 
class. She could not be bribed by 
apples, Valentine cards, or compliments. 
She was totally incorruptible. 

It seemed to me that Mrs. Metzler 
was only vaguely aware of us as indi- 
viduals. She was not particularly 
interested in any of her students, and 
made no attempt to get any of us to 
like her. She was often known to say, 
"I'm not here to be in a popularity 
contest." In the playground chatter, 
she took a lot of abuse. Nobody 
tried to hide the fact that they hated 
Mrs. Metzler. I saved some of my best 
put-downs for her. Being accepted by 
your peers is very important to a 

Eventually, however, I secretly 
began to like Mrs. Metzler. She made 
learning a challenge. There were no 

tmgible rewards in her class for a job well 
done, although there was a look she gave me 
when she knew I had made an effort to learn and 
finally understood. I often found myself striving 
to get that look. I finally began to realize 
that the knowledge was the reward. I : realized 
that with that look Mrs. Metzler was saying, 
"Congratulations, you just solved a difficult prob- 
lem using only your own resources." She showed 
me that learning is not easy and that knowledge 
is its own reward. Solving problems gives us 
self-respect. The degree of self-respect is 
directly proportionate to the difficulty of the 
problem, and strength is gained from perseverance. 

It took me many years to realize just how 
much Mrs. Metzler influenced my life. When I 
think about her now, I think Mrs. Metzler always 
knew that someday we would appreciate her. Tea- 
chers like her win their students' gratitude 
by not babying them and by encouraging them to 
push on with difficult , or even boring tasks . 
I'm sure Mrs. Metzler had a lot to do with my 
decision to pursue a career in teaching. 
Thanks Mrs. Metzler, wherever you are. 

Penny Sartori 


We all wonder about people who con- 
tinually insist on indulging in self- 
destructive behavior. We shake our heads 
in disbelief at people who abuse alcohol 
or drugs. Why would anyone want to smoke? 
Why do some of us continue to carry around 
those extra pounds? 

"Why are you trying to kill yourself?" 
my husband and my mother repeatedly asked 
me. After the "Enema Plunge," I realized 
they had every reason to consider me sui- 
cidal,- but I also knew I couldn't quit 
now. I was going to be a water skier even 
if it killed me. 

"I just have to analyze the turns," 
I told them both. Once again, I deter- 
mined the answer to be in the legs. I 
decided I had to slightly bend my knees 
to absorb the shock of the boat's wake. 
Armed with my newest theory, I was off to 
Coal City. Up on the first try, I felt 
strong and ready. The spaghetti arms 
were strengthened from a summer of skiing. 
They still weren't going to pull me out 
of the water, but I felt if my legs could 
do most of the work, my arms could at 


( continued) 

Fete Rose Ain't Got Nothin' On Me! continued 

least hang in there until it was over. 

As the turn came closer, it occur- 
red to me that I was thirty miles from 
the nearest hospital. I went out wide, 
felt the speed pick up, bent my knees 
and then saw the trees closing in on 
my right. Oh, this is it, I thought! 
But the boat began to straighten out, 
and miraculously enough, so did I. 

"I did it! I did it!" I 
screamed. My husband, Doug, always the 
enthusiastic, encouraging type, yelled, 
"Shut up, or you'll fall! It isn't 
over yet, ya know!" 

As we uassed the rest of our 
group on shore, I could hear them 
clapping and shouting. I felt like 
I was getting a standing ovation. 
It went to my head, and I did some- 
thing else I'd been just dying to do. 
I let go with one hand and waved! 
That was it, I knew. The other women 
were now simply green! You see, 
they had been having their own prob- 
lems. Of the five of them, two were 
at about my level, one was even 
worse — she was still trying to get 
up — and one said that after watching 
the rest of us, she preferred to 
consider water skiing a spectator 
sport. I know that still leaves one, 
but let's not talk about her, shall we? 
She's one of those 110-pounders 
that just flies out of the water. 

Anyway, by the second turn I 
found myself wondering what the prob- . 
lem had been. My elation, however, 
was interrupted by the snake that 
slithered across the tip of my 
right ski. I'm sorry I can't be 
more descriptive about the snake, 
but he wasn't there long enough for 
us to become acquainted. Thank 
God! I screamed and pointed toward 
it. The guys in the boat laughed. 
They thought I was still showing off. 

Later that day came the big 
test. Everyone wanted Doug and me to 
ski double. I kept remembering how 
disappointed Shelby had been. 
"Surely, you're not going to refuse 
to try?" Doug sneered. I shot him 
the old evil eye, but sweetly said, 
"And what about the turns?" He 
grabbed my hand and started running 
toward the water. "No problem. 
You just take the outside." Easy 
for him to say, I thought. 

I was so nervous I came up too quick 
and nearly went right back down. Some- 
how, I recovered, and we were off. As 
you may have gathered, I had never (and 
never will) learned to think of skiing 
as fun. It was a lot of hard work and 
pain and a challenge. Doug was having a 
great time, though, and I let. a little of 
it rub off. I was actually laughing; then 
came the dreaded turn. I went so wide that 
Doug's turn was complete long before 
mine. He had too much slack in the rope, 
and he started wrapping it around his 
arm. I had seen him do that many times 
when the boat would momentarily lose 
speed. It always made me nervous. I 
would envision the boat jerking and him 
going down with the rope wrapped around 
his arm. I hated to think how badly 
he could get hurt . 

I 'knew I had to cut my turn short, 
even if it meant falling. I began putting 
extra weight onto my left ski and leaned 
slightly in that direction. It worked. 
"Nothin' like wait in' till the last 
second!" he yelled. "Was this my idea?" 
I screamed back. The rest of the way 
was smooth sailing. I almost arrived at 
the shore without getting my hair wet — 
almost. That was my last goal, and it woul 
have to wait until next summer. 

The night before the first trip to 
Coal City for the 198l season, I announced 
my goal to Doug.' "I'm going to ski all 
the way around tomorrow and come out with 
dry hair. " 

"We're going to the lake, Penny. 
People get their hair wet in the lake. I'm 
sure I must be missing something here." 

"It's not the hair, really," I tried 
to explain. "I just need to do it! 
Marie (the boat owner's mother) never 
gets her hair wet, and she's fifty-five 
years old! If she can do it, I should be 
able to. Don't you understand that?" 
He gave me that blank stare I've seen so 
many times over the years but never 
quite have gotten used to. 

I went to sleep that night with that 
familiar feeling of anxiety, dread, and 
impending doom closing in on me. I'm a 
firm believer in Murphy's Law, but what 
else could possibly go wrong? 

The next morning was clear and cool. 
Maybe I won't even ski, I thought. I'll 
freeze. By noon, though, it was warm 
enough for even the biggest sissy. The men 
had each taken several turns while the 


( continued) 

Pete Rose Ain't Got ITothin' On Me! continued 

women sat around in jeans and sweatshirts. 
One "by one, we began peeling off the extra 
clothes, each of us wishing someone else 
would go first. "C'mon, Sartori, you're a 
pro now; get out here," some smart-mouth 
shouted from the boat. "Okay," I mumbled. 
"Let's get it over with." 

Doug reluctantly got up and started 
toward the boat shaking his head. I heard 
him say to no one in particular r "When I 
was a kid I fell down the basement steps 
once. It not only hurt like hell when I 
fell, but I was sore for days afterward. 
I was more careful after that, though. 
When Penny was a kid she probably fell 
down the basement steps on a regular 
basis just so she could find new places 
to hurt." 

"Hey, if I wanted a comedian, I 
would 've brought one along," I snapped. 
"In the boat, funny man!" 

It really was like riding a bike! I 
was up on the first try, skied a short 
way, then crossed over the wake and back 
again — another first . As we approached the 
turn, visions of the "Enema Plunge" were 
vivid in my mind. Knees slightly bent, 
weight slightly shifted to the left, I nav- 
igated it perfectly. We passed the shore; 
I crossed the wake and waved. 

"Boo! Hiss! Show-off!" I heard 
them scream. I loved it. "Eat your heart 
out," I screamed. 

The second turn came and went . I 
was on the home stretch now, and all I 
could think of was dry hair. "Let go!" 
I finally heard Doug yell. I did, but 
not soon enough. As my face smashed into 
the sand, I heard some pervert yell, "And 
the skier is safe at home! Hey, Doug! 
Did you see your wife's head-first dive 
into home?" 

"Yeah, I saw it. Pete Rose ain't 
got nothin' on her, except he gets paid to 
beat himself up." 

I lifted my face up and saw my 
features imprinted in the sand and felt 
the sand embedded in my face and arms. 
Doug jumped out of the boat and hurried 
over to me. 

"Now that you've mastered the 
water, I guess my place is on shore so 
I can catch you when you land." 

"You could ask if I'm all right," 
I sputtered, spitting out words and sand. 

"You must be okay, your hair's 
dry. Next time around, maybe you could 
drop a ski." 

Suddenly I was thirteen again as 

I rolled over slowly and flipped him 
the bird. 

Joel Steuanek 


It was a clear, cool night in mid- 
summer when twelve boys were coming out 
of the woods carrying the tools they 
used to start building the tree fort 
called Have. It was getting dark, and 
their parents would start to wonder where 
they had rushed off to after dinner. We 
called the fort Haven because everyone 
agreed that when something was going 
wrong at home, we could always have a 
safe place called Haven to run from the 
worries of today. 

And a fort it was . It was built in 
one of the largest oaks in the woods 
with many branches at the top but none 
at the bottom so no invading forces could 
enter the fort uninvited. We origi- 
nally had to hook one of the branches 
with a homemade grappling hook and climb 
a rope to get to the branches. Henry, 
the human monkey, and the best climber 
in the eighth grade and two grades ahead 
of me, climbed the rope and anchored the 
top of 'the rope ladder to a branch. 
Then we went up the ladder and began to 
survey our new position. In this part of 
the woods, there were many other trees 
at about the same height, but this tree 
poked above the canopy, enabling us to 
view the corn fields in the distance. We 
were not able to see anyone coming because 
of the leaves. But we weren't worried 
about the summer. We were excited about 

With the leaves gone, we would be 
able to see anyone coming a great distance 
away and could ready our ammunitions of 
snow balls for the great battles that 
we knew would come this winter. Last 
year we were horribly beaten by a group 
of kids from Maple Park who not only took 
our fort, but used our own snowballs against 

I walked home that evening with Robert 
who came over and watched television with 
me until his mom called and made him go 
home. The funny thing about Robert is 
what everyone called him. Robert. He 



Robert, continued 

was never Rob or Bob or Bobby. He 
was just Robert. And he wasn't 
geeky or nerdy or anything like that. 
He was just quiet and slight. Every- 
one who knew Robert liked him. Too 
bad I couldn't say the same thing 
about me. I got in a lot of fights 
with older kids in gym class because 
I didn't have any friends in the class 
and wouldn't take their crap. 

Even though it was summer and I 
could sleep in, I got up the next 
Morning and ate breakfast with my mom 
and dad. 

"Well, Alex," said my dad. 
"What are you doing up so early?" 

"I've gotta work on the fort, 
Dad," I answered. 

"Honey, I don't like you build- 
ing that fort in the woods , " my mom 
said. My mom and dad were stereo- 
typical parents. "Still, I don't 
approve. Dear, tell him about the 
dangers . " 

"Come on, June," my dad defend- 
ed. "I did the same thing when I was 
a kid." My dad was on my side when it 
came to doing things like building 
a tree house or going off with the 
guys to see a movie, as stereotypical 
fathers are. He then told us when 
he was a kid, he and his friends built 
an underground fort in a field that 
was so well hidden when people came 
to look for them, they would walk 
right over the top of the fort without 
ever knowing. 

"Dad," I questioned. "What 
ever happened to it?" 

My dad laughed. "One day we 
were hiding from a group of older kids 
when one fell through the ceiling of 
the fort. He was so startled with 
smaller kids yelling and scrambling 
over him to get out, he forgot about 
chasing us." 

I finished my favorite breakfast 
of Cheer ios and ran out the door 
toting my Handy Andy toolbox and a 
sack lunch that my mom made. Even 
though she didn't approve and didn't 
understand why I couldn't walk home 
a half-mile to eat , my mom wanted 
me to have a good lunch. Robert 
was waiting on my front doorstep 
petting our cat that purred to his 
attention. Our cat liked Robert. 

"Hey, Robert, why didn't ya cone in?" 
"Uh ... I don't know. I just 
thought I would sit here and wait." 
Robert spent a lot of time at my house 
because his mom worked in the day and his 
dad worked a night shift and slept in 
the day, so Robert couldn't have his 
friends over. Robert's dad didn't really 
like Robert. He had an older brother which 
his father had liked the most because 
he was a star athlete but he died in a 
bizarre football injury. His neck was 
snapped by a bad tackle in practice. 
Robert was far from being a star at 
anything physical. 

Robert didn't have a lunch or a tool 
box. All he had was a l6-ounce hammer 
with a fiber glass handle he found when 
he moved into his house a few years ago. 
He loved that hammer. The other kids would 
ask Robert to pound in nails because he 
had the best hammer in our group. 

As we walked to the woods we had to pass 
through the park which, by an uncharacter- 
istic act of gracious behavior by the 
village, consisted of a tornado slide, 
three swings, and a double teeter-totter. 
All the things a child could ever need 
to have a full day of fun in the sun. 

In the park were a few kids from 
Maple Park that came over to see our 
fort. Or so they said. 

n Kee-p walking, Robert," I said as the 
seconds it took to pass them turned into 
years. We were almost in the woods and 
I thought we might pass them without a 
confrontation when I heard, "Hey kids, 
where ya going without your mommy to hold 
your hand?" The biggest kid was taunting 
us. His hair was about shoulder-length 
and unkempt and his clothes looked like 
they hadn't been washed since Christmas. 
He had pimples all over his face because 
he was a little more "mature" than the 
other boys his age. The other two boys 
were his henchmen. 

"Run into the woods , Robert , " I 
hissed as I turned to face them. I 
heard a squeal from behind me. There was 
a fourth member of this goon squad that 
must have been looking into the edge of 
the woods, heard us, and was coming back 
when he came across Robert. He herded 
Robert into the circle that the other 
goons created and had us surroundedT 

"Go back to your mommies," I told 


( continued) 

Robert, continued 

them. They laughed it off. 

"Oh, we has got a wise guy," 
the head goon said. "Well, you should be 
a little smarter, saying that to some- 
body which is bigger than you." Did 
I say their grammar was terrible? 
They grabbed my tool box; I jumped, 
but the others held me back. 

"Now, what's this?" He held up 
my small hacksaw. He took the blade out 
of the saw and bent it back and forth 
until it snapped. I was really start- 
ing to steam. "Oh, look at da cute little 
hammer." He held up my Handy Andy blue- 
topped 8-ounce hammer. He threw it into 
the woods and then stomped on the thin 
sheet metal Handy Andy tool box. He 
very graciously handed me the tool box 
back. I was so mad by now I didn't 
care if there were four or thirty goons. 
I broke free of the other kids' hold, 
and jumped on the head goon. He was very 
surprised at the sudden attack and fell 
to my quickly repeated blows. The other 
boys were shocked and stood watch for 
a few seconds. I had a clear advan- 
tage over the goon and what I lacked 
in weight and size, I made up with anger. 
He could do nothing but scream, "Get 
this kid off me!" and try to protect 
his body. 

The three others shook off the sur- 
prise and pulled me off him. I was in a 
fighting frenzy and struggled to break 
free of their hold but they held me 
tight. I calmed down, breathing heavy, 
and looked at the damage I caused. 
His nose was bleeding and his eyes were 
red, and I could tell he would have 
two good black eyes by tomorrow. He 
felt his nose and saw the blood. He 
screamed. Now he was in a frenzy. He 
scrambled up and started pounding on me. 
He broke my nose and a few ribs . The 
boys holding me let me fall on the 
ground. All four of them started kick- 
ing me. All I could do was hold my arms 
over my head and hope it would end 

When I thought I could not take 
any more, I heard a scream from the 
head goon. The pounding stopped. I 
squinted out of my swollen eyes and 
saw the head goon was on the ground, 
screaming and holding his head. Ro- 
bert stood over him, holding his hammer. 
The other boys were shocked again. They 

stood looking at Robert with their jaws 
open. Their minds wouldn't let them be- 
lieve that meek, little Robert could do 
this. I could hardly believe it myself. 
I knew they wouldn't just beat him up 
if they caught him. 

"Run, Robert!" I yelled and he ran. 
But he was running into the woods and not 
toward the neighborhood. "Ho, Robert, not 
that way!" 

"Get him!" yelled the head goon. The 
other boys chased Robert and the head goon 
scrambled after him. 

"No, Robert," I wheezed as I tried to 
get up. I couldn't. The pain was too 
much. I felt a hand hold me down. I 
looked up, thinking one of the goons came 
back to beat me somr more. It was Harold, 
who could be called the leader of our 
group . 

"What happened?" he asked, helping 
me sit up. 

"Four kids from Maple Park beat me 
up and chased Robert into the woods . " 
Harold yelled to the others from our group 
and they ran into the woods . 

"I've got to help Robert," I said as 
I tried to get up. Harold held me down. 

"We'll get them. You stay here." 
Harold ran after the others. I continued 
my attempts to get up, but failed. I 
was really beat up for a sixth-grader. 
I heard shouting and then a loud scream. 
About five minutes passed when two boys 
from my group, Bob and Jim, hurried over, 
picked me up, and started to carry me 
to the street. 

"What happened?" I asked and was cut 
short by the pain in my chest from my 
broken ribs. They set me down and let me 
walk with their help. 

"They beat Robert pretty badly," 
said Bob. "When we got to him, he was 
knocked out on the ground and they were 
kicking him. But we took care of them. 
We really pounded them. And Harold really 
beat that big kid." 

The others ran out of the woods carry- 
ing Robert. He was still unconscious. 
They took us to my house, which was the 
closest and told my mother. She shrieked 
when she saw me and quickly called an am- 
bulance. It came and took Robert and 
me away with my mom riding with us, crying. 

I was able to go home that night 
with a broken nose and three broken ribs. 
Robert had to stay awhile. He had a con- 

( continued) 


Robert, continued 

cussion, broken ribs, and a broken 
arm. My mother told me that when 
they called Robert's father, he was 
there in a matter of minutes. He 
came to see me and I told him how 
Robert hit the kids that were beating 
me up and probably saved my life. 
I was exaggerating, but it was what 
he wanted to hear. 

Robert's father gained a lot of 
respect for his son that day. He 
spent more time with Robert every day 

and when Robert was healed, his father 
started to teach him how to play football 
and took him to games. Robert told me 
later that getting beat up was worth it 
to have his father back again. 

Robert and I snent a lot of time to- 
gether during high school. We were both 
on the football team and had classes to- 
gether. But, we went to different colleges 
and lost touch over the years. I always 
wonder what happened to that little boy 
I once knew a long time ago. 


Jose Garza 


Judy Belfield 

Embodied time, relentless restless rhyme 
Life the canvas with colors bright, 
Show me light, Oh star of mine, 
The dream, the vision, whose voice 

An eagle's flight the dawn divide, 
Behold its wonder behold its right. 
Enf lamed and mighty in astro flight, 
Across the sea of wonder, the endless 

To fill with wonder the warning night. 
An echoed omen! To taro light, 
The dancing moon on rustling leaves, 
The mighty wind to caress the trees. 
The tranquil sound on barren beach, 
The rolling waves of crashing seas. 
To know the reason for autumn's season, 
To tease a tear without painful reason. 
To steal the touch of heaven's wonder, 
To feel the joy, a melancholy tear 

behind heaven's thunder. 


Ronna Oldham 


if people were ageless, 
the petty barrier of time 
would not exist to keep them 
from becoming 
equally and fully-- 



Fingers glued inside 

kaleidoscopic gloves 

move considerably in opposition 

to black and white patterns 

of Op— Art vibrations. 

Like a Mae West Bedroom, 

Dali-eyed paintings on the wall, 

her mouth a bed 

to sleep satin softly away, 

the night crickets anapests 

against the rhythm of 

a seductive tango — 

a liquidly sliding movement 

of hips and lips 

and the silkiest hair. 

All the colors of rainbow Van Gogh 

melt into yellow — 

the streak of cowards ' backs , 

and yet a hopeful hue 

devoid of cry, except 

in anticipation, 

like a child hopskipping 

handclapping .jittery anxious 

for the next moment 

as though it held 

a birthday celebration 

in suspended animation. 

I laugh, too, 

delightedly untouched 

by the cynicisms of age: 

buttered golden 

and punched by sunshine. 



Judy Belfield 

-ladonna Clarke 


Fantasy of blue-green 

a fluid wave of chiffon 

streamed out in the "breeze 

behind Isadora 

motoring through Italian hillsides 


not knowing 

the knot at freedom's throat. 

We drift like this, 

lazing into a moment 

like mermaid's hair: 

a soft swaying 

deep in the sea 

as achingly graceful 

as a lovesong's final note. 

Tomorrow' s fingers 

belong to a strangler. 


Nancy Carlin 


From this darkening space, 

An angling shaft of sun light spears 

the dimness. 
As the shadowing night envelopes myself, 
A color emerges at the window. 
A life of memories swarms around this, 

The blue shimmers with past tears and hopes , 
Moments of shared intimacy glow from within 

Reflections of friendship, sorrow and 

pain of 
Renewal and communion with the 

Images of the future — older and frightening. 
God, this window is a part of me. 
So many times, during this swift moment 

of life, 
I'll glance up and be engulfed by that 

This time between day and 
That diamond of color is a window into 

The blueness is beyond this world and 
Seems to glow a warmth into my soul . 
A minute could be a lifetime 
Gazing into that 



******** -21— 


It ' s the lines I have 
Spoken, you can't read 
Between. It's the words 
I have written that 
You cannot hear. Lines 
Forever running, running 
Endlessly. We're parallel 
Lines that never meet , 
Just parallel lines , 
Opposite" sides of the street 


Steve Siedler 


I entered the room slowly, wishing 
that my photo-grey lenses would adjust more 
quickly to the light. The lenses were a 
great concept , but it took a while for them 
to change from light to dark, or vice- 
versa. At times, they left me groping 
in a state of semi-blindness. 

As things focused a little, I looked 
around the place. I had no idea what the 

name of it was, but the orange neon 
Strohs light above the door had attracted 
my attention. I walked to the bar and 
found a space, noticing that I had begun 
to attract a little attention myself. 
Obviously, my suit and overcoat contrasted 
sharply with the torn tee-shirts and patched 
Levis which seemed almost uniform apparel. 

A chubby lady with a Brillo-pad hair- 
cut waddled over to my space. 

"Watcha need, hon?" 

I stifled 'an urge to order spumante. 

"Strohs, draft please." 

As the bartender waddled back to the 
tap, I took a ten from my wallet and tossed 
it on the bar. The beer would taste good, 
or at least it would be cold. I had been 
imagining the taste for over an hour. 
Problems and delays at work had gotten 
everyone there a little over-heated, and 
I felt I had a right to douse the flames 
with a cold one or two. 

I had been on the road for a couple 
of hours, and had about three more to go 
before making it back to Joliet. The 
company had temporarily shipped me out of 
state to give a little oomph to a new 
location. The people had been uncoopera- 
tive, the new-guy-giving-orders situation. 


Assumptions, continued 

Besides that, the company hadn't 
matched my expenses, someone had 
written, "Eat shit!" on my wind- 
shield, and I had tripped and fallen 
down in the parking lot . I was not 
in -a great mood, but it was over. 
I was- going home. 

The bartender slowly waddled 
back with my beer. 

"Here y'go, hon." 

"Thanks a lot." I pushed the 
ten towards her. "Could you tell me 
what city I'm in?" 

She snorted, then waddled away, 
laughing . 

"Great," I mumbled. It was an 
interesting name for a town, but per- 
haps appropriate, at least from 
what I had seen so far. 

I took a couple of healthy 
swallows , then slowly took off my 
overcoat and hung it on the back 
of a bar stool. The coat was warm, 
but also very heavy. A friend of 
mine had joked that it might be 
bullet-proof. I quickly glanced 
around the place again and silently 
wished that it was. 

I reached inside my jacket and 
readjusted the position of the bottle 
of cough syrup in my left insdie 
pocket. To add the other inconveni- 
ences, I had a cold, and had been 
carrying the bottle around for several 
days. My voice was obviously fly- 
ing south for the winter while I 
was driving northeast . The ooze- 
like syrup kept what was left from 
leaving completely. The problem was 
that the bottle had a square cap, 
and chafed my underarm if I left 
it in one spot too long. 

The chubby bartender waddled 
back and set my change in front of 
me. I looked at her. She looked 
at me, then waddled away, laughing 

I rolled my eyes toward the ceil- 
ing, then mumbled, "Great." I knew 
I wasn't the most attractive guy 
in the "world, but I never really 
considered myself as funny looking. 
I decided that the woman was either 
a little strange, a little drunk, or 
a little of both. I took another 
healthy swallow, then turned around 
to find a pair of glazed eyes staring, 
not at me, through me, from across, the 

room. The guy was leaning against the 
wall, swaying slightly, balancing himself 
by planting the end of a pool cue between 
his feet and holding the other end tightly 
with both hands . He looked about my age , 
except balding badly. The gut was evi- 
dence that he had been in a bar before. 
It was apparent from his wobbling head 
that the man had little idea what he was 
looking at. I turned around, and looked 
into my beer, hoping that I hadn't attract- 
ed the attention of the human form with the 
void behind the eyes. 

This was a strange place. There were 
enough people, strange though they might 
be, but except for the juke box in the corn* 
playing an old song by Chicago, "Searching, 
there wasn't much in the way of noise. 
There i were no guys shoving each other around 
no one telling jokes. Weird! 

I finished my beer, then nodded to 
the bartender for another. That started 
her waddling again. 

"Is it always this quiet, here?" 

She nodded, then waddled off laughing 

"Okay," I mumbled. I reached inside 
my jacket to readjust the damn syrup 
bottle again. I glanced to my left and no- 
ticed a girl looking at me. She must've beffl 
in the bathroom, because she hadn't been 
there when I came in, and I had a habit 
of checking doors in bars. Besides, she 
was cute and wearing a short skirt. I 
would have noticed her. 

I smiled, then said, "Hi." 

She looked at me another moment , then 
turned away. I scratched my head, then 
added, "Or, maybe not." 

Slowly I stood up, put the change 
from the ten in my pocket, then decided 
to check out the bathroom myself. Beer 
always had that effect on me, and besides, 
if I hurried, maybe I would miss much of 
the excitement. The girl was probably a 
hooker, anyway. 

After the important stuff was taken 
care, of, I combed my hair. I had just 
gotten a haircut, and it felt a little 
too short. It was too bad but the girl 
probably was a hooker. I must not appear 
to have money, or at least enough. 

I heard voices from the bar. Great, 
somebody was alive out there. I heard a 
glass break, and someone laughed. Things 
must just start later in ... in wherever 
the hell I was. Someone else laughed. 



Assumptions, continued 

I walked back into the bar, rubbing 
the highway glare out of my eyes . The 
bar had become as quiet as before. The 
only change was that the cute girl in 
the short skirt was sitting in the bar 
stool with my overcoat on it. Yep, pro- 
bably a hooker. 

I walked up beside her and grabbed 
my beer. 

"Hi, again." Maybe I did look like 
I had enough money. 

"Hi." Silence. 

"That's a start." 

"Yoti know, nothing's going to 
happen here, tonight." 

Okay, time for the sales pitch. 
"Is it always like this, here?" 

"Only when you guys are here."- 

"Huh? I'm here alone." 

"You know what I mean." Her skirt 
had ridden a little higher. I was 
looking at her legs and she caught me. 

"Stop that." 

"I'm sorry. What were you saying?" 
Strange hooker. 

"We saw vou drive up." 


"So we know who you are and why 
you're here." 

"I'm Steve, and I'm here to have 
a beer." 

"Bullshit. We know what's going 

"Good. Maybe you could tell me. 
I'm not from around here." 

"I really don't have to tell you 
anything. " 

"Okay, so why are you sitting here?" 

"Just to let you know that we're 
not stupid." 

"Good." I was missing something 
here. "What are you talking about?" 

"We saw your car. We know you're 
a cop." 

"A what?" 

"A cop." 

The girl was cute, but this was 
beginning to get a little too weird. 

"I'm not a cop." 

"Look, we saw the antenna and the 
state police sticker on your car. That 
wasn't very bright." 

"The antenna gives me good FM 
reception, and the sticker just says 
that I support local #kl." 

"Not buyin' it." 

"Look! The company I work for 
made a donation to the state police. 

They gave us some stickers. I put one 
on the car because I thought that it 
might make the difference between a 
warning and a ticket." 

"It's okay. We know all about the 
undercover drug investigation. That's 
why nothing's going to happen here." 

"That's wonderful, but I'm not a 
cop. " 

"You're not, huh?" 

"No. Sorry." 

"Then why the gun?" 

"What gun?" 

"This one, here." She poked the 
bulge in the left side of my jacket, 
underneath my arm. I couldn't help a 
silly giggle. This was the weirdest 
hooker I had ever met . 

"Oh, my gun. Well, since everybody 
knows about it anyway , would you like 
to see it?" 

Her eyes brightened. "Okay." 

"I'm not supposed to do this, so 
you can't tell anybody about it." 

"I won't." 

I had the feeling she wasn't the only 
one watching. I slipped my hand inside 
my coat and reached inside my left in- 
side pocket. Slowly, I pulled out the 
often deadly bottle of decongestant 
cough formula. 

She batted her eyes , ther\ gently 
patted the side of my coat. 

"You son of a bitch!" 

"Maybe, but I'm not a cop." 

Someone behind me laughed. I sat 
there with a silly grin. The girl began 
to laugh too. 

"Can I buy you a drink now?" 

"I guess so." 

I shook my head, still grinning. 
"Un-fuckin' -believable." I tried to 
picture Officer Steve, and failed misera- 
bly. "Can we start this again? I'm 
Steve, a sales consultant." I offered 
my hand. She took it. 

"I'm Cheryll." 

"Nice to meet you." 

"Nice to meet you." 

I motioned to the chubby bartender 
with the Birllo-pad haircut . She wad- 
dled over again. 

"Could we get a couple of drinks?" 

"Sure, Hon. These are on the house." 
She waddled away. 

"Thanks. So, Cheryll, what do you 
do for a living?" Whoops, silly ques- 


( continued 

Assumptions, continued 

"I'm a computer program con- 
sultant . " 

"Great. f?his is almost like 
a paradox." 

"A what?" 

"A paradox. That's what you 
get when you nail boards together 
around two boats marked side by side." 


I felt a tap on my shoulder, and 
turned in time to see my human form 
with the void behind his eyes. He 
smiled, then said, "How's it goin'?" 

"Not bad. How' re you doin'?" 

Somebody kicked the jukebox. 

"It's Hip To Be Square," 
by Huey Lewis and the News cranked 
up. Cheryll touched my arm. I turned 
to face her. 

"Steve, when you asked me what 
I did for a living, what did you think 
I was going to say?" 

"Well, from looking at you, 
I'd say probably a computer program 


"Oh yeah, you definitely 
look like a computer program consul- 



Ronna Oldham 

Steve Fisk 


There we were . . . 

Two people sharing the same beliefs , 
living the same lives, 
dreaming the same dreams.. 

...uncommon, I guess 

two spirits becoming one? 

Here we are . . . 

worlds apart . . . 

our beliefs as far a^art 
as the West from the 
our lives, unrecognizable 

to each other 
our dreams ... words are 
not appropriate... 

have you drifted too far away from shore? 
or am I afraid of the water you are in? 

Where will we be . . . 

there is another world waiting, 

for you. . .for me. . .us? 

to be filled with memories of tomorrow 

different memories to be sure 

better or worse? 

we cannot see from where we stand today... 

do you want to begin a new journey with me.? 




Cotton candy misery 

Bound tight on a spool, 

In a thriving fist. 

Dull the death knives, 

Break a pane 

Sending a tingling trail 

Up through 

A sleepy spine. 

Life, you are all mine. 

Stagger and sway, ascendant, 

Inebriated soul! 



Steve Siedler 


I was semi-conscious as I started the 
car, turning on the stereo, loudly, to clear 
the webs. I had just worked twelve hours, 
four longer than indicated by the schedule, 
and I was trying to prepare myself, both 
physically and mentally, for a three-hour 
night-time south-bound cruise. I was not 
sure how well I would weather the drive, 
but I had promised to show up, and I 
would. A promise was a promise, but more 
than that, besides being wary of highway- 
dangers, I was looking forward to the 
weekend, or what was left of it. 


If There's No Fire, continued 

I had met Linda a few months 
earlier. She was a good friend of 
a female cousin, and when they came 
to town, I had called a friend to 
make it a foursome. I had been 
seeing her regularly for a couple of 
months, the visits being limited to 
weekends because of work schedules 
and the three-hour one-way drive. 
We had become friends, close to being 
good friends, and I saw no reason the 
relationship could not continue and 
develop into something more. 

I had become a welcome guest 
in her parents' home. They had even 
grown accustomed to my different 
sense of humor, and had made me feel 
very comfortable. Spending a little 
time in a small town had given me 
a chance to unwind, and I sincerely 
enjoyed spending time with Linda. 
She was nice, really nice, and cute 
too. I had the feeling that she 
was someone that could be trusted, 
and I think the feeling was mutual. 

I had packed before work, 
and knew the route well. My biggest 
concern, even after popping a couple 
of No-Doz, was staying on the road 
for three hours. I figured I'd . 
either make it or I wouldn't, logical, 
but overly simplistic at best. 

Well , I must have made it , because 
I've written this since. I cruised 
into the driveway at about one a.m. , 
figuring that no one would be awake, 
and that, not wanting to awaken the 
household, I'd be stuck spending the 
night in the car. I had called, and 
was expected to arrive late, but not 
that late. Mental images of leg- 
cramps and no sleep clouded my vision. 
until I was parked and looking at 
a well-lit house. Great — no leg 

Linda met me at the door. Taking 
a good look, she said, "Holy ..." 
but paused there. She. shook her. head, 
smiled, then said, "Come inside. You 
look terrible." 

"Thanks for the vote of confi- 
dence." I smiled, I think. 

Linda laughed, grabbed my bag, 
then took my arm and led me inside, 
leaving me against a wall as she 
took my bag into the guest room. 
She returned and, with little help 
from me, pried me from the wall and 

•Judv Belfield 


speak softly 

carry sticks 

jump over candles 

know Coleridge winters 

feel passion violetly 

deep enough to drown, 

dance Stravinsky 

play cellos and Pan pipes 

all the day 

all the night. 

Firelight eyes 

sing gypsy blues 

at full-moon time 

wash out with the tide 

from here to eternity 

finger forbidden folds 

sparkle like Tinkerbell ' s feet 

after eating canaries 

while the cat's away 

all the night 

all the day. 

led me to the couch, turned me around, 
then pushed downward on my shoulders. 
I managed a sitting position, sort of. 
Linda knelt, and proceeded to take off 
my shoes. I had had those things on 
for at least sixteen hours, but she 
didn't even back away from what I'm sure 
was a less than pleasant aroma. She 
propped my feet on the coffee table and 
sat down next to me. 

"You could 've come tomorrow," she 

"I know, but I said I'd be here 
tonight, and besides, if it's all right 
with you, I wanted to see you." 

"Oh, it's all right with me, but 
Steve," she paused, "can you see me?" 

"Not very well, sorry." 

"That's okay," she smiled again. 
"Do you want a beer?" 

"Yeah, but I shouldn't. One 
will put me out for sure . " 

"You could use the sleep." She 
strolled into the kitchen, quickly 
returning with an open Miller and a 
chilled glass. 

As she poured the beer, I watched 
and, when she had finished, asked, 



If There's No Fire, continued 

"Have I ever told you that I'm start- 
ing to 'like you?" 

"Yes, "but it's nice to hear, 

TVo swallows later and I was 
drifting off somewhere. I wasn't sure 
where, but when I drifted hack, it 
was light outside. Inside too,- for 
that matter, because I was inside and 
could see without electric visual 
aids. I just assumed that it must 
have been light outside also, although 
I didn't check. 

I walked, or rather stumbled, 
into the kitchen, and met a guy 
who looked almost as bad as I did. 
He needed a shave, had bloodshot 
eyes, was dressed in a bathrobe, 
and drinking a Miller. 

"Hello?" I questioned. 

"Hi, I'm Carl. You wanna beer?" 

"Why not," I answered, wondering 
who the hell the guy was . He was 
friendly enough, but to find a strange 
guy in the kitchen drinking a beer in 
the early hours of the morning was a 
hit unnerving. 

"I'm Linda's "brother-in-law. 
You must he Steve." 

"Yeah, I don't feel much like 
him this morning, hut I must he." 

"I know what you mean. We 
flew in from California yesterday, 
and I feel like shit, when it's cold." 

The town was having its annual 
festival, just like every other town 
in Illinois has a "Something-Fest" 
on one weekend or another. For 
Linda's family, it was a reunion of 
sorts, family, plus enyone else that 
decided to show up. Good thing, 
because I wasn't family. 

"Linda said you're a nice guy," 
Carl stated, tipping the Miller. 
"Is she right?" 

I raised the Miller in answer. 
"Not until I get a swallow of this." 

Carl grinned, and said, "I 
hear ya, man." 

"Any "body else awake?" I yawned. 

Carl yawned, shrugged, then 
farted. I decided Carl was all right, 
I'm not sure why, he just was. 

Linda walked into the kitchen, 
looking first at me, then at Carl, 
then at the open beer. "How can you 
guys drink that stuff in the morning?" 


"With our mouths," Carl answered. 
Yep , Carl was all right . 

Linda walked over and sat on my Ian. 
God, it was early to have someone sit on 
anybody's lap. She softly nibbled on my 
ear, then stated, "I take it you're ^eelins: 

"A bit. You wanna beer?" 

"That depends, do you want to clean un 
the mess?" It took a while for the questio: 
to sink in, but once it did, a "No" es- 
caped quickly. I didn't want to think abcu- 
what would happen if I had answered "yes." 

Things began to happen quickly. I 
met Barb, Linda's sister, with the intro- 
duction by Carl of "This is my wife. She 
threw up last night and clogged up the 
sink." Good stuff hefore hreakf ast , 

I shaved, carefully, and I emphasize 
the word carefully, then showered. Damn 
it, it was cold. I dried myself quickly, 
then dressed even more quickly. Breakfast, 
which hung like a low fog on a long, low 
stretch of flat stomach followed. Sonet bin; 
ahout heavy-duty breakfast food that has 
always made my throat shrink, so as to pre- 
vent violation hy pancakes and such. 

Church! Aha, church! Yeah, it 
scared me too, hut I went, and I watched 
the devout Christians nod off at irregular 
intervals. I had been described as non- 
denominational, almost as bad as a man with 
tits, but I listened, and might have sang 
a song or two, hut I didn't know the words, 
and I figured ad-lih was definitely out 
of the question, although some of the 
melodies were catchy. 

A quick change, and it was time for 
volleyhall. No screw around games here, 
serious stuff, this central Illinois vol- 
leyball. Carl was good, but I guess 
people living in California should he good 
volleyhall players, otherwise, why live 
in California. It was very unintentional 
that I spiked the hall into Carl's fore- 
head, three times. Carl only counted the 
fourth, which I did on purpose. 

"You owe me a beer for that one ! " 

"You got it." 

That cheered him. Like I said, Carl 
was all right. 

Okay, Food Time. What can I say? 
I am a bigger person, and bigger people 
desire bigger portions — of everything. I 
pigged out, and it felt great. Steak on 


If There's No Fire, continued 

the grill, I would eat it anytime, and 
feel great about it. So I did. Then — 

It was time to head downtown, 
and I say that because most of the town 
was down an enormous hill , which made 
the town area downtown. Sounds logical, 
right? That's what I thought, besides, 
that's where the bars were, and Carl 
wanted to hit the bars. I was in no 
mood to argue. Carl had one coming 
on me. 

Carl had two on me, then I had two 
on Carl, then he had two on me, then 
I had two more on him. It was a good 
thing Linda had a lot to talk about with 
her sister, because, otherwise, they 
would have seen a guy from California and 
a guy from Joliet dancing on their knees. 
I thought we were fairly good at it. 
I don't think Linda or Barb appreciated 
the art form, but we did. 

Somewhere between lower leg joint 
grinding, in a quiet moment, Linda con- 
fided, "You are so weird, but you're 
so good at it." We danced to a slow 
song, closely, and I enjoyed it a lot. 
Carl was off somewhere on his- knees 
again, so we decided to take a walk. 

We walked, held hands, and after 
repeated glances over my shoulder down 
the dark streets, Linda finally giggled 
and requested, "Would you please relax? 
We're not in Joliet, you know." 

We walked a little farther when, 
suddenly, she stopped, spinning me into 
a hug. Linda looked into my eyes, 
corny line right? Linda looked at my 
eyes, and said, "Steve, I have 
something to tell you." She had mentioned 
an old boyfriend before and here it 
goes, I thought, the "I still want to 
be friends," speech. The muscles in 
my arms tensed and I prepared, then 
said, "Go ahead." 

She looked at me steadily, then 
said, "I love you." 

"What?" It was the best I could 

"I said, 'I love you. '" 

I was quiet for a while. Perhaps 
a little too quiet. Linda asked, 
"So, how do you feel?" 

"Honestly, I thought you were about 
to dump me." 

She laughed. "No, don't laugh, 
I really thought you were going to dump 
me," I stated. 

We sat down on a street curb. I 

had thought of the possibility of this 
conversation sometime in the future, but, 
for now, I was speechless. For some un- 
explainable reason, I couldn't return the 
emotional expression, even though 
Linda was probably the nicest woman I 
have or had ever met . 

Instead, I found myself giving the 
same speech that I had expected a few 
minutes earlier, the "It's too soon for 
me — I care a lot about you — I want to 
see you again — I r m just not ready to say 
love yet" B. S. speech. The one that 
sounds lame no matter how articulate 
the presentation. I meant every word, 
but it even sounded like B. S. to me. 
We walked silently back to the house, 
then quietly said, "Good night." 

The next morning, as I threw my stuff 
into the car, Linda came down to say 
goodbye and call me, and let's get to- 
gether again. We kissed, then promised 
to call each other. 

I was ready to leave when Carl came 
down to the car. He didn't look happy, 
but I had to go with what I thought was 
right. He held out his hand, and after 
considering the wisdom of doing so, I 
clasped it firmly and shook it. 

Carl looked at me, shook his head, 
then said, "Linda told me about last 
night." He paused, then added, "You 
know what probably would have happened 
if you would have lied to her?" 

"Yeah, I know, but I also know how 
I would have felt this morning about it." 

"You know, Linda trusts people 
easily, sometimes too much, but in your 
case, she was right." 

"About what?" 

"You are a nice guy." 

"Yeah!" I said, looking at my 
dashboard. I shook his hand again, 
and left to his parting, "Take care." 

Maybe I was a nice buy, but, somehow, 
on the long drive home, I just couldn't 
shake ike feeling that I had just lost some- 
thing important, someone important, and 
despite the parting promises and good 
intentions, as it turned out, I had. 

I guess that's a chance you take 
when you play by your own rules. 



Steve Siedler 


Noise, I hear noise. Mum- 
bles and a crash. Eventual reali- 
zation, the clock-radio is on. It 
screams, "I'm back in the saddle 
again!" Oh God, Aerosmith at 8:00 
a.m. Maybe it will go away. "I'm 
back in the saddle again!" It isn't 
going away. 

The fog of sleep lifts slowly, 
leaving its sediment in my mouth. I 
suck in vain to produce moisture, 
then give up and turn on the bedroom 
light. I yawn, then stumble to the 
bathroom with a finger in my left eye, 
no moisture there either. 

I flip on the bathroom light 
and glance in the mirror. "Oh, man," 
I say aloud. I point at the strange 
face in the mirror and, shaking my 
finger, say, "Man, you look awful." 
I shake my head in disgust, then turn, 
scratch my head, and bend to turn on 
the water for a shower. My foot slips, 
and the front of my knee makes sharp 
contact with the edge of the tub. 

"Shit! Shit! Shit!" I growl 
through clenched teeth. Morning vul- 
garity has always seemed the most 
profound to me. 

The water on, I prepare myself 
mentally for the physical anguish that 
usually accompanies the manly art of 
shave thy face. Wet thy face, squirt 
goop in hand, rub over thy face, and 
scrape thy face with an extremely sharp 
metal alloy blade. Scrape, scrape, 
scrape, blood. Scrape, scrape, 
scrape, blood. The manly ritual al- 
most always results in drawing blood, 
but twice isn't bad, especially when 
in a hurry. 

A quick wipe with a towel and 
it's dental hygiene, time. I'm not 
sure why it is impossible to brush 
teeth without looking into a mirror 
to see a silly looking face with froth 
dribbling from the mouth. For me, it 

No thought involved, it is shower 
time. After five years, I know exact- 
ly where to set the knobs and exactly 
how long to wait before stepping in. 
The temperature is perfect. My 
eyes begin to open, although they 

would have been extremely useful while 
shaving. Thoughts begin to form. Damn 
soap is too small. I am overwhelmed by an 
urge to sing a song. Too bad I don't know 
any. "La-de-da, Sail on, sail on, la-de-da, 
wish I knew the words. 

Time check? I am going to be late 

Out of the shower. Damn it's cold 
out here. Towel wrapped around body. Still 
cold, body awake. Mind semi-conscious. 

Dry that body, 

Dry it now. 

Gotta make money 
anyplace anyhow. 

Comb that hair 
and let it dry. 

Gotta sell somethin' , 

I'm not sure why! 

Seventy hours a week for five years is 
getting to me. "Don't think, you late. 
You go work now. " Inner voice lacks in- 
telligence, but is correct. Time to dress. 

1. Underwear v' 

2. Socks v^ 

3 . Pant s v 
h . Shirt S 
5- Shoes v/ 

6. Tie/ 

7. Wallet, Comb ^^ 
Keys Change i/V 

8 . Bubblegum \S 

Time check? "Shit, I'm late." 

Keys out of pocket and out - the back 
door. Double check on back door — locked. 
Lights still on? Tough. 

I step in a puddle, bad for the shoes. 
Key is in the car door lock. ■ The door is 
open. I step in and sit down. Door 
closes. Engine starts third try, like every 
day. Car backs out. Time for kiddie check. 
No targets present. Proceed with all 
available haste. I turn the radio on. A 
voice tells me that it is a beautiful 
day outside. Doesn't matter, I won't 
see it. 

Things begin to pass by, flying things, 
driving things, growing things. Just a bunc 
of damn things in my way to assure that I 
won't make it to work on time today either. 

"Old man, move your car faster. 
You're delaying my contribution to the 



Missing Me, continued 

United States G. N. P. I could drive 
this route in my sleep." Intense 
realization, I probably have. 

I plug a tape into my cassette 
player, doesn't matter what it is. 
Okay, avoid the idiot slowing down. 
Nice Chevelle ahead, used to have one, 
years ago. Getting close to Crank-Em-Out 
headquarters. It's bubble gum time. Bos- 
ton tape from 1973. It has been playing 
'for ten minutes and I've just noticed. 


Bubblegum tastes flat today, but 
it keep the mouth moving. Salesmen 
need a constantly moving mouth, it's 
an unwritten rule. I wonder how much 
garbage I can sell today to people that 
don't really need it. We get bonus 
points for selling a product that is 
more expensive than the customer actual- 
ly needs. I've been getting a lot of 
bonus points lately. That scares me. 

I pull into the parking lot of 
Crank-Em-Out headquarters and park. Time 
check? Watch reads 9:22. I've still 
got eight minutes until 9:00. I set 
my watch a half -hour ahead as a mor- 
ning motivational aid.. My God! I've 
got eight minutes of freedom. What 
to do? 

I think about the offer for promo- 
tion. Ah, for an extra five hours a 
week I can get a raise and rise a step 
on the corporate ladder. I wonder how 
many more people I'll have to screw. 
Probably just people in my present po- 
sition and below. I stare through the 
dashboard for a long moment, listening 
to Boston's "A Man I'll Never Be." 

Time check? 9:25. Maybe if I 
work here another ten years, they'll 
let me work a hundred hours a week. 
Then I'll probably have to screw 
everybody. That's a far cry from 1979 
when I was fired for answering a 
question. The man asked, "What's the 
difference between this camera and 
that one for a hundred dollars less?" 

"Besides the price? Not much," I 
answered. It was the truth. 

Anyway, I survived. What time is 
it? 9:27. What day is it? Doesn't 
matter. What God damn month is it? 
Uh. Yeah, I survived. My hair is 
thinning, but big deal, I've got 
money in the bank and the vice-president 
of the company likes me. He calls me 

Hot-Shot , and slaps me on the back every 
time I come through for him. Sales are 
far ahead of schedule, so I deserve to 
work seventy-five hours a week. He likes 
me. He likes me because . . . because he 
can screw me. He must get bonus points 

Well, it's 9:29 by my watch. De- 
finitely a far cry from 1978. I look in 
the mirror, turn up the volume, wink and 
smile. Not a salesman smile, a me smile. 
I'm sure it is a spontaneous decision. 
No, on second thought, it isn't that 
spontaneous , at all . 

Casually, I turn the key in the ig- 
nition. The car starts third try, like 
always. I pull out of the parking lot 
and stop at the stop sign. I raise my 
imaginary toast to Crank-Em-Out head- 
quarters, then turn onto the highway. 
The me-smile is still there. The voice 
from the radio was right. It is a 
beautiful day — NOW! 


Madonna Clarke 


Je me cherche par tu 
In places throughout, the 
world where I can only 
be in spirit. Je me 
cherche. par tu in 
everyone I meet 
searching their eyes 
to find you in their 
soul. Je me cherche 
par .tu in myself 
to only find I cannot 
see you. Je me cherche 
par tu will I ever 
find you waiting for me? 


Sharon Peck 


It didn't surprise her. 
Not really. 

What did surprise her was the fact 
that it had been going on for so long, 



Intimate Stranger*; continued 

unnoticed. She had always prided 
herself on being discerning, ob- 
serving, aware. Shaking her head, she 
wondered aloud, "How could I have 
missed the signals?" 

She glanced quickly at the rear 
view mirror as she changed lanes and 
saw a pair of tired eyes staring back 
at her. She had slept little last 
night and was anticipating a busy 
day. "Damn him!" she swore at her 
reflection. "Damn him and his lousy 
sense of timing." 

She braked for the stop light and 
stared absently out the car window. 
She noticed a young couple, obviously 
in love, walking, floating, down the 
sidewalk. He walked backwards as 
if he couldn't bear to miss, even 
for a second, the chance to watch 
her, all of her. His hands tugged 
gently at the tassled ends of the 
red muffler draped loosely around 
her neck. They laughed together, 
oblivious to the world around them- 
"Was it ever really that simple?" 
she asked herself. "And why does this 
have to happen now?" 

She tried to remember a time 
when they had been truly happy. 
Satisfied. Content just to be to- 
gether. . Just to be a couple. It 
seemed so long ago. 

She thought about the night they 
had graduated from high school. 
She closed her eyes and saw the 
royal blue caps being tossed high 
into the air. She heard their shouts 
of joy. She felt again that thrill 
of anticipation, that wonder at the 
unknown, that naive confidence in a 
bright future. She grinned as she 
recalled the party afterwards and 
the pink toilet paper streamers dang- 
ling from the tall oak trees in Old 
Lady Rainey's front yard. After 
all these years , the memory of their 
coup still amused her. They had 
spent hours planning their strategy 
and their plans had paid off. They 
had earned the recognition and re- 
spect of the entire graduating 
class when word spread that the two 
of them, together, had successfully 
tee-peed the principal's yard. Yes, 
she remembered, they had made a 
good team ...then. 

The sudden sound of a car horn rudely 
interrupted her reverie. She looked up at 
the light, now green, and pulled out into 
the steady stream of traffic. 

As she raced to the office, thoughts 
raced through her mind: thoughts of college, 
of dorm parties, of panty raids, or rap 
sessions that had kept them awake until four 
in the four in the morning - , still more 
thoughts of eager hands, groping, searching 
for something else, something more, in the 
back seat of his Cutlass Supreme. Her 
mind jumped to English 103 and she rememberec 
with a special sense of pride their ioint 
presentation comparing the literary trends 
of the American and English Renaissance. 
They had both received an "A," she thought, 
somewhat proudly. What was it Professor 
Tierney. had said? Oh yes... "you two com- 
pliment each other well." 

As she passed Marie's Bridal Shoppe, 
she saw a mannequin dressed in virginal 
white, smiling at passers-by, promising mari- 
tal bliss to any young bride wise enough or 
rich enough to choose one of Marie's 
latest original designs. She stifled a 
giggle as she recalled her mother's well- 
meaning advice to her new son-in-law that 
night at their elaborate wedding reception. 
"Be gentle," she had counseled, "she's so 
young, and she doesn't know much about ... 
you know. " The two of them had later 
roared with laughter at her mother's un- 
necessary concern. "We were good to- 
gether," she muttered, "even in bed. 
Especially in bed." 

She applied the brakes as a school 
crossing guard stepped boldly into the 
rush-hour traffic. He resembled a well- 
dressed scarecrow as he took a protective 
stance in the middle of the busy inter- 
section. The car idled as children of var- 
ious shapes and sizes safely crossed the 
street . "Were our own two ever that 
small?" she wondered. She pictured the 
night the twins had been born and her eyes 
filled with tears , as they had that night 
when the docotr handed to her a perfect 
little girl, and to the proud new father, 
a tiny new son. "You two should do this 
again sometime," he had teased. "You 
do good work. " 

"And we did," she mused. "We really 

She startled suddenly as the guard's 
loud whistle broke into her reflective 



strangers, ccr.~ir.uei 

:.ce _; 

her vat; 


czea taat 5-9 ' 1 cet-rer aurry ic sae 
■ ""siisi cc be ca tine for her first 

As she aeared The office, she re- herself that ia some "ways ohe years 
had ""po*^ --av*v ~ o c j "co t^en. PheY aad 
pursued successful , if separate, careers, 
a~ i ""oi^ vava veil— "**esr ec~ e i ia Their 
chosen professions. It vas true that 
They had grown ia different directions, 
cut having made their choices, they'd 
accected the consequences and had gradu- 
ally become indifferent to the cost. 

"The children "both turned out veil," 
she consoled herself and thought longing- 
ly of her iaughrer, vac vas enjoying 
her vork as a congressional aide and 
:er sen, who had he 
ocmercial airline. 

In her mind, she could see their 
expeasively-furnisaed hone and pro- 
fessionally landscaped lawn and knev 
Thar she and her husband vere envied by 
-any of their unknowing neighbors. 
"If they only knev," she said as she 
pulled into her reserved parking spot. 

Moments later, she caught sight of 
herself reflected in the elevator uiir- 
orr. "la.~-.ri him," she cursed again 
as she examined the dark shadovs under- 
aeath her eyes. "Why did he choose last 
night to confess this affair of his? 
I just can't deal vith this right 
now. I have enough problems to handle 

She set her chin and squared her 
shoulders as she stepped from the eleva- 
tor and -walked down the carpeted hall 
to her office. 

She heard greetings of "Morning, 
Doctor," and smiled brightly as she 
pushed open the door narked Associated 
Marriage and Family Counselors. Tossing 
her hair, she responded light, "Good 
morning, all. The doctor is in." 


lutes Miller 


hear the music 

feel it touch your soul 

the history of man flies 

through the air on waves of sound 

a message from soul to soul 

hear the players 

feel them make you dance 

hear the drums 

feel their pain 

made of the skins of human slaves 

they beat out the rhythm 

of the work,- the blood, the sveat, 

and tears 

the heart beats of the drums 

enslaves the dancers and 

drives them into frenzy 

hear the violins 

feel their tears 

their strings mourn for the unjustly killed 

battered down in fear 

battered down in confusion 

hear the painful tears come down from all 

feel the pain as it mades the dancers 


hear the music 

feel it touch your soul. 


Jean Tyrell 


Margie wanted to race labor Day in 
Moline, but what vould dad say? 

She was already faced with the fact 
that Roger, her brother, complained all 
the time she trained with him. It was 
hard eno*3h to get time to train, and dad 
wouldn't let her ride with anyone else. 
last time whe went out with Roger and 
his bike racer friends, she couldn't keep 
the pace, and got dropped, separated from 
the others. She'd biked the fifteen miles 
home by herself. When dad found out that 
Roger let her ride home alone, he'd 
gotten mad at Roger, and Roger was even 
less willing to have her along. 


( continued^ 

The Desire to Race, continued 

Fourteen-year-old Margie never 
understood why dad didn't let her do 
things that sixteen-year-old Roger 
could. Dad was unwavering in his 
position. "Girls do not race on 

Margie tried arguing her point, 
but she never won. Dad's old- 
fashioned views seemed unchangable. 

"Whadya expect?" Roger 'd shouted 
at her after dad chewed him out. 
"I told you those racer guys didn't 
stop when people didn't keep up," 
and he'd gone off in a huff. His 
younger sister was a big crybaby any- 
way. The only reason she came was 
because his riding buddy, Mike 
Trancher, invited her. Trancher didn't 
have any sisters and he didn't know 
what he was asking for. Roger had 
tried to warn him. He'd tried to warn 
Margie too, but no, she had come. 

Unknown to her dad, Margie had 
raced in a time trial this summer. A 
time trial is a race against the clock. 
The event was part of a day of races 
held in Chrystal Lake, Illinois. Most 
of the races were for licensed riders, 
like Roger and Trancher — that ' s who 
she went with. But the time trial 
was for unlicensed riders. Margie 
figured because it was a time trial, 
she wasn't actually racing with others, 
but she still hadn't told dad. 
She kept telling herself she was wait- 
ing for the right moment. 

Both Margie and Roger had been 
riding since they were youngsters. 
Dad ran the Schmitty's Bike Shop in 
Muscatine, Iowa. His kids were 
raised around bikes and biking was 
as natural to them as walking. Be- 
cause they'd spent summers in the 
shop, both of his children knew a 
great deal about bike repair. Mar- 
gie knew other kids her age were 
into rock groups and albums, but 
not her. She was too busy fixing 
bikes, studying bike catalogs and 
reading about her favorite bike racers. 

Summers, especially May and June, 
Roger and Margie went downtown in the 
mornings to work at the shop. New- 
comers, who traded at the bike shop in 

Muscatine, were always surprised to see 
a young slender girl with long, ions; hair 
working in the store. Margie would come to 
the front counter to wait on customers 
with a cheery toss of her long braids 
and a grin that lit up her hazel eyes . She 
wore shorts, but a tool apron covered them 
and she was oblivious to the stares that 
her trim legs attracted. 

This summer had been a slow one a~ the 
shop. Another bike shop opened in the 
new mall. Maybe because it was a good lo- 
cation, or who knows what, it had taken some 
of Schmitty's business. 

The town was hardly big enough to 
support one bike shop, let alone two. 
Dad just shook his head whenever talk of. . 
the new shop came up. He never related 
his disapproval, but his close-lipped si- 
lence on the matter spoke loud enough. 

Margie could never remember her dad 
being in this kind of mood. As always, 
he was extremely formal and polite, and 
precise. But this summer, he seemed to 
be working under pressure. He was fre- 
quently short-tempered with Margie and 

His children's escape came in late 
afternoon, when work was over. They'd 
go riding. 

Today, the freewheels on the bicycles 
hummed as the tires contacted the pave- 
ment. Margie could only concentrate on 
the back of her brother's bike and the 
narrow distance needed to catch his draft. 
Drafting, a racing technique, required 
concentration. She noted Roger's every ■ 
movement to keep from running into him. 
By keeping this close she benefitted from 
the wind break created by the front rider ' s 
momentum knifing through the air. She 
could keep up with him, while he worked all 
the harder out in front against the wind. 

The four-mile trip home was trans- 
portation as much as it was training. 
Margie slowed and caught her breath the 
last few blocks before home. Trancher was 
in the yard in his biking jersey and cleats 
waiting for Roger. 

"Hello Short stuff ," he said when he 
saw Margie, and he grinned. His freckles 
seemed to have multiplied across his face 
this summer. "You riding with us today?" 

Margie was secretly pleased. 

"It depends on Roger. I don't know 
what kind of mood he's in." 



The Desire to Race, continued 

Roger .just shrugged when asked, so 
feeling like she'd been given a reprieve, 
Margie, excitedly trailed behind the boys 
as they rode to the outskirts of town. 

One of their favorite routes was 
eleven mile on county roads. It was here 
they took turns leading a draft line 
to break the warm, southwest wind. 

"Geez, it's hot," thought Margie, 
as they pulled in a gas station parking 
lot where they refilled on water from 
an outside faucet. 

Margie could feel the sweat drip 
out from under her helmet . 

"How ya doing?" Trancher looked 
at her . 

Margie noticed even the' end of his 
upturned freckled nose had a sweat drop 
hanging on to it. Margie nodded. 

"Okay." But her okay was raspy. 
She needed more time to catch her breath. 

"Let's go easy on into Wilton. 
We'll turn around there and go back," 
said Roger. 

Margie blinked her eyes incredu- 
lously. Her knees still felt like 
jelly now that she was off the bike. 
"Hey," said Margie, "I thought you guys 
were going to do a moderate workout. 
What is a moderate workout?" She let her 
breath out in a long pant. 

Trancher smiled with a look of 
feigned surprise and said, "Margie, we 
were going slow so you cold keep up," 
and he let out a big guffaw. 

At first Margie was taken. Then 
she realized he was kidding. In spite 
of catching her breath, she grabbed 
her water bottle and shot a stream of 
water at him. 

"That's how slow I am, Trancher." 

He ducked and rolled away. In 
turn, he snatched the water bottle off 
his bicycle and set his bicycle down. 
He twisted sideways avoiding the second 
stream from her water bottle. Margie 
moved and yelped as his jet of water 
hit her. Just as a second thought, 
Margie shot water at Roger who had been 
laughing. He, too, grabbed his water 
bottle and the fight was on. 

In the midst of corn fields near 
at the intersection of Sontag and 
Fahrner Roads, a water fight took 
place. The three participants, all in 
bright shirts and dark shorts, fought 
with water weapons until laughter stop- 
ped them. The participant who got the 

wettest was the shortest and the only 
girl. The three mounted bikes and head- 
ed north on Sontag Road. The few wet 
spots on the pavement dried almost before 
the riders were out of sight. 

"You going down to the shop, 
Roger?" Roger was sitting in the break- 
fast nook with a bowl of Cheerios and 
was reading the latest edition of "Bike 
Racing News." Mom said when they came 
in dad called. He was getting backlogged 
on some new bike orders . 

"Rog," Margie's voice tone 
grew when she realized he had not heard 
what she said, "Are you gonna go down 
and help Dad?" 

He answered without even looking 
up . "Why don ' t you go . " 

With a look of exasperation, 
Margie finished combing her nearly dry 
hair and braided it down her back. 

"Ma," she shouted to her mother, 
who was in the back of the house. "I'm 
going down to help dad." Margie never 
heard her mom' s faint "Okay" because 
she was already out the side door. 

Margie held a brownie from the bakery 
in one hand and wheeled her bike in 
through the back screened door of the bike 
shop with the other. The wood door had 
many greasy finger marks along its 
exterior. Over the years, tons of 
kids and their bikes, and parents and their 
kid's bikes had come in through the "back 
door of the shop. Margie parked her bike in cm 
out of the way place and shouted to dad 
that she had arrived. 

Dad was out in front with a customer. 
"Hellow Margie," he answered with a big 
shout . 

"Sounds like the mood is good," 
though Margie. 

She went and got her tool apron off 
the hook. She craned her neck from the 
bike stand and wondered who her dad 
was talking to. She could only see the 
gentleman's green shirt, and muscular 
arms. He was a distinctive recl^CA4 

When he turned to face dad as dad 
got behind the counter, she could see 
his tan. Dad was discussing the Labor 
Day Bike Race. But who was that? He 
looked older than Roger and he was not 
one of the fellows Roger raced with. 



The Desire To Race, continued 

He had a square angular face. He looked 
towards her standing in the rear work 
area, and she caught with the vague 
feeling that he was nice looking. He 
smiled, it was more a grin, hack at her, 
and she realized she'd been staring. 
She looked away and proceeded to wonder 
if he was watching her change a tire. 

She was still putting the tire on 
when dad came into the workroom . 

"Oh, your customer's gone," said 
Margie, with feigned interest. 

"He left ten minutes ago," said 
Dad. "He was interested in a cyclo 
computer. He's apparently from Connecti- 
cut. He raced in college. Sounds 
like he wants to enter the Labor Day 

For the first time in quite a while, 
Margie could see Dad in more relaxed 
mood. He smiled and hummed a bit under 
his breath. Margie was always amazed 
at Dad's great enthusiasm for racing. 

"What else did he say?" Margie 
was interested in finding out who the 
nice-looking racer was. 

"He's visiting the bank on a sort 
of business internship, from some school 
in Illinois. I can't remember where." 
The details of this person's life 
weren't half as important to Dad as 
the idea that the customer was a bicycle 

"Dad," she hesitated for a moment. 
"I know you're taking Roger down to 
Moline for the biker ide on Labor Day. 
Are you taking anyone else?" This real- 
ly wasn't what she wanted to know. But 
it was a place somewhere to start. 

Dad was already at the other bike- 
stand concentrating on the wheel he was 
working on. Margie wasn't sure if he 
was listening any longer. 

The boys were Roger's racing bud- 
dies. Other years, "the boys" had been 
the group of young riders that hung 
around the bikeshop. The. faces changed 
through the years as the boys grew up. 
Some of the young fathers in town were 
already bringing their little boys to 
the shop to buy them BMX bikes , so 
that some day the youngsters would be 
Schmitty's boys too. 

Roger grew up into membership in 
"the boys." It was natural — he knew 
about bikes and rode as well or better 
than anyone. 


But Margie was a girl. That made a 
difference. She was becoming a fine 
mechanic and good rider but Dad didn't like 
her riding with the boys. Time after tine 
he assigned Roger to "keep an eye on your 
sister." Roger hated it. If only she 
could prove herself. That's why Trancher 
was a nice change. He really acted like 
he thought she rode well. 

"Dad," Margie started off again, 
"You don't care if I go with. you to 
Moline, do you?" 

"If there's room, you could go." 
Kurt Schmitz glanced at his daughter and 
realized there was more to the question. 

From the repair stand he looked over 
his glasses at her. "Margie, I won't sign 
the form for you to ride. You need par- 
ent permission." 

"But Dad, I'm as good or better 
than most of the girls in those races. I 
know it . " 

"Settle down, Margie. How do you 
know it? You never rode." 

Margie bit her lip. She could feel 
the tears under her eyelids. "Dad, I 
know because I was in a time trial at 
Chrystal Lake. I took third in my age 
group . " 

Dad bristled at the news. "Margie, I 
told you racing was out. How could you 
race knowing how I felt?" 

"It was a time trial, Dad. I was 
racing the clock, not anyone else." 

Now defiance was creeping into her 
voice. "Besides Dad, Roger always gets 
chances. But no, I'm a girl, so I .just 
get stuck fixing these stupid bikes." 

She looked with disgust at the tire 
in her hands. 

Silence came between them. Dad look- 
ed at his daughter as if analyzing a bi- 
cycle before declaring it fit to ride. 
She was small, but sturdy. He let out 
his breath with a sigh. 

"So you've time trial ed, but only 
once. Even with the girls, especially 
with the girls, someone's always getting 
hurt . " 

Margie looked up. This was the furth- 
est the discussion ever got. That was 
hopeful . 

"Dad, please, you know I'm a careful 
rider. How can I get better if I never do 
it? Please, Dad, just this once." 


The Desire to Race, continued 

And Dad could feel his resolve 
fade. "I told you not to race. I'm 
really mad that you did. I'm going to 
ground you for that . I think I know- 
how had you want to, hut that's no 
excuse for doing something I told you not 
to do." He searched for the last word. 
"Margie, I will be in charge of your 
training. " 

"You mean you will help me train... for 
a race! " 

A young girl's joyous shrieks came 
from Schmitty's Bicycle Shop. Inside a 
hounding daughter jumped and hugged her 
dad all at the same time. Her head hit his 

"We will see," he said, smiling and 
rubbing his jaw. "He'll see about the race. 
One ste"D at a time here." 


Ronna Oldham 


I will take you as you are, 

Whether you hover close, 

Or run beyond range. 

There exist sinners and so-called 

Redeemers but No One, may demand 

An alteration 

Solely to satisfy complacent interests, 

I see you sitting, peering skyward, 

Drenched in a self-made tear-pool 

Of greed and egotism. 

We both weep and cry out, 

As starved as the day longing for 

the sun, 
And the night for the moon. 
But I will accept you always, 
Without a change. 
I must dry my brow so to be 
Barely worthy enough to look you in 

the eye. 


Ronna Oldham 

Madonna Clarke 


My addictions are not 

of the normal genre. 

It ' s not the lust of 

alcohol or the intensity 

of drugs. Devotion it 

is to the realities I 

have created to which 

others have dissipated. 

Surrendering my soul 

to delve into the 

subjects others feel 

apprehensive of. An oddity 

perhaps to some, who 

cannot understand or 

feel. Reaching into the 

back of my brain for 

those little things which 

have become living nightmares, 



Don't trust me, tiny bird. 

You perch meekly on my finger 

Expecting gentleness. 

You think I'll take good care of you. 

What if I, with one swift thrust, 

Slam your fragile body flat against 

the wall in my anger? 
Or worse yet, tear your precious wings off 
In my frustration with life, 
While you scream in agony? 
— But I won ' t . 

You make me love you when you imitate me 
With little squeaking noises of happiness 
And affection. 
You know I'm a pushover for the sweets in life, 



Joel Sterianek 



in© ©their mm ©PITE LJIICE it 
































































































8RAI0WO00. IL 


















































W. A. Kahle 

Deep in a crowd 

one soul spies 

on the lights and voices 

chanting with a fanatic speaker. 

Wave your hands — 

Twist your elbow — 

Jump and scream, 

Live a riotous dream: hedonize. 

Nothing makes sense 

hut if the people inside 

papier mache bodies *.**#*### 


sorted out the lies from truth 

not a fire would flare 

on the channel five news 

Iran might change their mind 

or arsonists would set 

the blowtorch aside 

for an unbiased opinion 

of how 

the nation could accomplish 

senility so fast.